The colourful cast of Death Note (2006) reunite for this inspired manga/anime adaptation. It is a riveting sizzler of a movie made with nerve-jangling Japanese brutality. Kaiji is a down and out thirty-year-old blue-collar loser who has no luck in life. He is bored of his dead-end job at the hypermarket, irritated that pompous and prosperous people drive around in Mercedes and depressed that he never has enough dough to rise above his comatose lifestyle. One day, a debt collector arrives at his flat to offer him the chance to change his empty existence: go on a cruise with other down and outs, gamble, and repay his debts in the ultimate game of deception. If you win, you start your life afresh, if you lose, well, you will never want to fool around with rock-paper-scissors again because Brave Men Road is the only way to escape 15-years of forced underground slave labour.
Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler (2009) examines the languor of Japanese consumer culture: work, devour, and squander your verve in an everlasting cycle of mass suppression that upholds the lower-class/upper-class divide. This regimented Metropolis style nightmare comes to fruition in the symbolic utopian underground kingdom that blue-collar slave workers must construct for aristocratic city-dwellers. The languid masses march in union, take showers together and buy beer and munchies with their meagre pay to nullify and distract themselves from their authoritarianism. The moral at the heart of Kaiji is simple: if you want to achieve your dreams in this hum/drum existence, you have to wake up, fight, and live recklessly. Would you be willing to walk across an electrified beam between two skyscrapers to pay off your debts while superficial business executives watch you on television screens? If you want to rise above your own worthless comatose lifestyle, why not take up the challenge, you could win lots of money because that is what Brave Men Road is all about, or is it Verdict: This riveting Battle Royale intoned masterpiece is made with nail-biting suspense, brain-teasing intelligence and mind-blowing wit:-
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