Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »
Riveting story of five kids who come to Tokyo for work in 1960. Fukasaku shows the shocking consequences for these idealistic youths whose dreams are soon torn apart in the chaos of class turmoil and youthful indiscretion.
Acting boss Hirotani of the Ohara gang uses his friendship with corrupt cop Kuno to usurp a staged land deal that rival yakuza gang Kawade had arranged through local politicians. Open warfare erupts between the two gangs.
The plot for this bloody Yakuza film follows a similar formula found in director Kinji Fukasaku's other gangster flicks. Bunta Sugawara stars as Gondo, a low level hoodlum who murders a gang leader in order to achieve a higher status. However, after his release from prison, he soon discovers that the old ways have changed, and his place in the gangster hierarchy is uncertain.
"Outlaw Killers: Three Mad Dog Brothers" (1972) is more episodic in nature compared to some of Fukasaku's other genre pieces. In fact, the title is deceiving. Despite the brothers mentioned, this is really Gondo's story through and through. Something else different is the somewhat darker depiction of the Japanese underworld, with sequences of excessive rape and victimizing of innocent people that are hard to stomach. This harsher point of view makes it nearly impossible to root for our protagonist, despite a cool and confident performance by Sugawara.
Having said that, the director's usual stylistic choices are present as always. This ends up being the timeless story of a man (criminal) wanting to go out on his own, to be his own boss, and getting bogged down with tradition, ritual, and a lack of respect. Fans of the genre will not be disappointed, though viewers trying to get into early 70's Yakuza films might be better served starting with something like "Sympathy for the Underdog" (1971), which is also directed by Fukasaku and features several of the same actors.
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