7.1/10
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27 user 28 critic

Tokyo Fist (1995)

Suspecting that his childhood friend, a professional boxer, is having an affair with his fiancee, a businessman starts training rigorously himself in order to take him down.

Director:

Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Writers:

Hisashi Saito (story), Shin'ya Tsukamoto (story) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kaori Fujii Kaori Fujii ... Hizuru
Shin'ya Tsukamoto ... Tsuda Yoshiharu
Kôji Tsukamoto Kôji Tsukamoto ... Kojima Takuji
Naomasa Musaka Naomasa Musaka ... Haze
Naoto Takenaka ... Ohizumi
Koichi Wajima Koichi Wajima ... Shirota
Tomorô Taguchi Tomorô Taguchi ... Tattoo master
Nobu Kanaoka ... Nurse
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Akiko Hioki Akiko Hioki
Kiichi Mutô Kiichi Mutô
Edit

Storyline

A businessman, Tsuda, runs into a childhood friend, Tajuki, on the subway. Tajuki is working as a semiprofessional boxer. Tsuda soon begins to suspect that Tajuki might be having an affair with his fiancée Hizuru. After an altercation, Tsuda begins training rigorously himself, leading to an extremely bloody, violent confrontation. Written by Todd K. Bowman <tkbowman@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

22 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I grothia tou Tokyo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kaijyu Theater See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (inserts only)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[Tsuda has just been beaten nearly to death]
Tsuda: At least I don't have any problems staying awake anymore.
See more »

Connections

Features The Third Man (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stomach-churning, but ultimately rewarding
2 December 2004 | by desh79See all my reviews

Watching a movie by Shinya Tsukamoto is a bit like staring into the deepest pits of hell, or the darkest recesses of the male psyche, whichever way you want to put it. But then the two seem fairly synonymous, at least if the sheer visceral anger in Tokyo Fist is anything to go by.

Those aware of Tsukamoto's feature-length debut Tetsuo (1988) will be familiar with the basic premise in Tokyo Fist; flawed relationship between man and woman is brutally disrupted by an outside element which challenges the protagonist to a potentially lethal, and eventually soul-destroying, duel. Similarly to other pioneers of horror (eg. Cronenberg, Miike), Tsukamoto chooses to use all kinds of repulsive visuals. Just to give you an idea, if a face almost literally falling off after a boxing match is too much for you, it's probably best to stay away from this film.

However, the brutal imagery is not completely pointless. Tokyo Fist portrays male anger with such honesty that it is sometimes painful to watch, but that's really the point since violence is not something to be cooed at or to be admired (which is what many Hollywood movies seemingly aim to achieve, witness the way audiences are prompted to cheer for the good guy as he murders the baddie). The violence in Tokyo Fist is allegorical in nature, ie. it stands for something else than just simply fists flying: the inability between men and women (and, indeed, men and men) to understand each other ultimately leads to the kind of extreme violence we see on screen. This, ironically, makes Tokyo Fist a part of the great humanist tradition in Japanese cinema, alongside Rashomon and other such movies, because, even though it uses extreme imagery to make a point, it makes the same point all the same: if we relish in jealousy, revenge and anger we will only end up destroying each other, and ultimately ourselves. Does Hollywood ever deal with violence this eloquently?

Also, as with Tetsuo, the characters in Tokyo Fist seem to live entirely in a world of their own. Many shots frame them either alone, or surrounded by an anonymous mass which fails to notice them or appreciate their presence (even as Tsuda stands in the middle of a shopping mall, his face beaten to a pulp). I can't think of another film-maker who sums up urban alienation as brilliantly as Tsukamoto does; the sheer contradiction of city life, in which a great mass of people are all huddled together at close range, and yet find themselves completely lonely and alienated from one another.

For all intents and purposes, Tokyo Fist is a movie which requires a strong stomach and an open mind. But it's a great achievement all the same.


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