Legendary/notorious Japanese novelist and cultural icon Yukio Mishima makes a rare screen appearance as Takeo, a young yakuza who reluctantly leaves prison to re-enter a dizzying world of kidnapping, attempted assassinations, attacks and retaliations. Torn by family duty, self-preservation, and his desire for his new-found love Yoshie (Ayako Wakao, “Manji”), Takeo blasts and bluffs his way through this treacherous maze, until he finds he can no longer outrun destiny.
Japanese New Wave master Yasuzo Masumura propels this deslirious, fast-paced yakuza-satire with a jazzy score, eye-popping visuals, and a trademark sense of the absurd. —hkflix
A singularly contradictory figure in Japanese cinema, Yasuzo Masumura directed 58 features between 1957 and 1982. He was trained by and worked for a handful of recognized cinematic masters, but chose to work for the most part in the less reputable world of B-movies. Virtually all of his films were made within the commercial film industry but they display a fierce personal vision imbued with a fascination with madness and a passion for the extremes of human behavior.
Born in 1924, Masumura earned an undergraduate degree in Law from Tokyo University near the end of World War II. He returned to college after the war for another degree in Literature and Philosophy while working as an assistant director at Daiei Studios. (Novelist Yukio Mishima was one of his classmates, and later had a starring role in his gangster thriller Afraid to Die). After graduating in 1949 with a thesis on Kierkegaard, he became the first Japanese student ever accepted to the prestigious Centro Sperimentale… read more
Everyone's favorite fascist Yukio Mishima sizzles as Takeo, a yakuza just released from prison and on the run from some enemies who are out to kill him. Like other reviewers have mentioned, this movie will be of most interest to Mishima fans. The movie is wildly uneven and chaotic in terms of both plot and pacing, and this was perhaps not the best Masumura movie to start with. His direction is bold and expressionistic, and he loves to cram his 'Scope compositions with everything humanly possible. Really quite a treat to look at. The high point is Mishima's performance. Most likely because of his real life madness he is really quite terrifying in this when he gets angry. There is always that barely hidden violence waiting to burst to the surface. His energy pours off screen. Still, this is not a great movie, nor is it a bad one, it just left me wanting more.
I think the key to this one is your relative interest in Mishima. If you're fascinated by his life and work (including his sometimes oddball forays into film), then this one will probably hold your interest. If not then, uh, not. Signature elements: the opening prison assassination sequence (which includes M. showing off his developing physique); the asthmatic hitman; and Mishima's over-the-top escalator death.