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 »
The focus of this highly engaging second installment is Kin'ya Kitaoji's "Shoji Yamanaka" character, a brooding, shy, impulsive man who places the highest premium on his love for his boss's niece, a humble, passionate woman who vows to wait for him when he is incarcerated for a series of brutal murders.
The political machinations of the yakuza world provide bloody, non-stop thrills in this deliriously anarchic crime drama that is never less than fascinating for its attention to personal details and vivid pictorial exploration of a criminal, country-wide hornet's nest.
Despite the impressive performance of Sonny Chiba as an ultra-psychotic "torpedo" and the weighty presence of Bunta Sagawara (who takes a back seat in this episode), the film does belong to Fukomoto. His turn as Yamanaka is extraordinary and he makes us empathize with the character. Fukasaku's handling of the romance is deft and touching without ever becoming cloying.
Once again, the action sequences are brutal and unforgiving and the camera-work by Sadaji Yoshida is, at times, mesmerizing. The film's final twenty minutes, where Yamanaka is hunted in the rainy laneways of Hiroshima, are quite beautiful.
A plaudit should also go to composer Toshiaki Tsushima who delivers a driving, organic, highly memorable score.
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