One is a young, jazz-obsessed Japanese drifter and other is a black American GI on the lam in Tokyo. The two outsiders become outlaws and the movie depicts their growing bond as an alternately absurd and tragic culture clash.
During the 1930s, a teenager yearns for a Catholic girl, whose only desire is to reform his sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, the young man channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.
Businessmen arrange the early release from prison of Togawa, serving time for taking revenge on the truck driver whose carelessness confined Togawa's sister, Rei, to a wheelchair. They want Togawa to hijack an armored truck loaded with 120 million yen; their leverage is to promise him money for surgery for Rei. Togawa consents and plans the heist with three others. The plan is solid, but it doesn't go smoothly. Togawa must improvise, there are traitors somewhere, and double-crosses mount. Can Togawa escape with enough money to help his sister and ensure a passage out of Japan? Loyalty matters.Written by
Starring Jô Shishido, the epitome of Japanese cool.
"Cruel Gun Story" stars one of the weirder actors of his era, Jô Shishido. I say weird because Shishido actually paid to have surgery to give him bizarre cheeks--making him appear, somewhat, like a human chipmunk! This apparently made him quite popular in Japanese crime films (I didn't realize that Japanese criminals were cursed with this odd facial characteristic!). I've seen him in quite a few films including: "Branded to Kill", "Youth of the Beast", "Detective bureau 2-3" and "Gate of Flesh" and he is the epitome of Japanese cool.
When the story begins, you learn that Shishido's been in prison for killing a man who ran over Sashido's sister. As a result, the sister is wheelchair-bound, so Shishido felt compelled to kill the guy. Now, he's been sprung from prison early--apparently some mob boss wants him lead a team in an armored car robbery. Shishido agrees--as he hopes that the money can pay for some miracle surgery to heal her. Unfortunately, there's more to the plan than Shishido is aware of and perhaps this is NOT a good way to make a fast buck. Can our anti-hero somehow survive this bold caper? I could say more, but it would spoil the film.
This is a very taut and exciting crime film thanks to a great plot, good acting and Shishido's character--a nice mixture of coolness, machismo and, in an odd way, honor. Plus, I sure liked the very dark ending--what a finale. Overall, I'd say this is one of the best examples of Japanese noir I have seen and it's well worth seeing--whether or not you are a fan of the genre.
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