Five years after surviving the all-out war between the Sanno and Hanabishi crime families, former yakuza boss Otomo now works in South Korea for Mr. Chang, a renowned fixer whose influence extends into Japan. A relatively minor incident causes tensions to rise between Chang Enterprises and the faraway powerful Hanabishi. The growing conflict gets out of hand and ignites a ferocious power struggle... See full summary »
Nishi, a police detective, has had to deal with a series of emotionally devastating events over the recent past. His only child, then preschool age, died two years ago. His wife, currently in the hospital, has been diagnosed with a terminal case of leukemia. And he develops a case of guilt when his colleague Horibe, during a stakeout which Nishi himself was supposed to be on but who, on Horibe's suggestion, was visiting his wife in the hospital instead at the time, gets shot point blank. That guilt is only exacerbated when Horibe, who as a result becomes paraplegic, is abandoned by his wife and child, with Horibe himself at a loss with what to do with his life as being a police was his sole identity. As a means to cope, Nishi becomes increasingly reckless, which affects the way he does his police work. That recklessness extends to his personal life when his wife's doctor recommends that she go home, Nishi, in the process, borrowing money from the yakuza to make ends meet. That ...Written by
The Japanese title translates into 'Fireworks", but if you look further into the basis of the Japanese character for 'fireworks', you will see that it is composed of two smaller words - 'fire' and 'flower'. And like the linguistic basis of the title, the story and style of "Hana-Bi" is the synthesis of two opposing images, one being an agent of destruction, and the other a symbol of birth and renewal. See more »
'Hana-bi' is one of the most impressive movies I've seen in the last ten years. Writer/director/star Beat Takeshi (Takeshi Kitano) is best known in Japan as a comedian and TV personality, so this movie is even more astonishing to outsiders like myself. Takeshi has a very laconic and charismatic screen presence, and is no slouch as a director either. It's difficult to describe the feel of this movie, and its poetic use of violence. Peckinpah's brilliant and misunderstood 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia' comes to mind, as does Cassavetes' 'The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie', Ferrara's 'King Of New York' and 'Bad Lieutenant'. 'Hana-bi' reminds me of those movies but Takeshi adds his own unique voice to the material. I was knocked out by it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to movie fans who are fascinated by the relationship between art and violence. I don't think calling this movie a masterpiece is an exaggeration. Absolutely essential viewing!
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