Bunta Sugawara is Miyoshi, a low-level assassin of the Yamamori gang who is sent to jail after a bungled hit. While in stir, family member Aoki attempts to seize power from the boss, and ... See full summary »
Sugawara is Kuroda, an itinerant gambler who steps in when a hit by drug-addicted assassin Kusunoki goes wrong, and takes the fall on behalf of the Owada family, but when the gang fails to ... See full summary »
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.
Sugawara plays Nozaki, a laborer who swears allegiance to a sympathetic crime boss, only to find himself elected his successor after the boss is murdered. Restrained by a gang alliance that... See full summary »
Pays tribute to Tokyo Drifter (1966); in the scene when Yamanaka is laying low in Shozo's turf, a jazzy version of the theme song from Tokyo Drifter plays in the background. All the while Shozo is advising Yamanaka he should hide in Toyko to avoid the conflict between the two warring clans of Hiroshima - strongly similar to the story plot in Tokyo Drifter. The scene ends with Yamanaka's boss calling to give him one final mission to set him up, similar to how Tetsu's boss calls his partner to rub out Tetsu in Tokyo Drifter. See more »
Famed Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku made a popular series of epic gangster films in Japan in the 1970s, starting with BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY. Hiroshima DEATH MATCH is the second of this five-part series and even better than the first; the first film is good but a little too sprawling and unfocused. It feels like everybody cut their teeth on that one, and went on to even better things with this.
The tale is a familiar one for anybody versed with the works of Beat Takeshi and the like: two rival crime families vie for control of post-war Hiroshima during the 1950s, and petty rivalries soon spiral out of control leading to full-blooded murder. A relatively short running time means that there's a heck of a lot of incident packed in here, ranging from love affairs to prison stays, assassination attempts, gang fights, and shoot-outs.
The production values of Hiroshima DEATH MATCH are very good indeed and there's a decidedly adult edge to the proceedings, with plenty of violence and blood thrown into the mix. The star players are all very strong too, from the mild mannered Yakuza bosses to the likes of Sonny Chiba as a spaced-out thug with violent passions. PROXY WAR followed next.
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