Assigned a standard Yakuza film in the hardboiled vein pioneered at Japan’s famed Nikkatsu Studios, director Seijun Suzuki (Branded to Kill) and his frequent leading man Jo Shishido used 1963’s Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! to flip the Japanese gangster film genre on its ear.
A rapid fire gun heist, credits with an infectious jazz pop score, and a wide-screen close-up of a burning car announce Detective Bureau 2-3 as the film that would both lampoon and redefine Asian crime films for an irreverent new decade of garish panache and ultra-violent cool. The story follows police detective Tajima (Shishido), who, tasked with tracking down stolen firearms, turns an underworld grudge into a bloodbath — while Suzuki transforms a colorful potboiler into an on-target send-up of cultural colonialism and post-war greed. “This isn’t an American TV series,” one of Tajima’s doubting subordinates tells the sharkskin-suited, super suave sleuth.
Anarchic, breakneck paced, darkly comic, and stylish to the extreme, Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! was a movie unlike anything audiences had ever seen. It would cement Suzuki’s fervent popularity at home and heralded his imminent cult status worldwide. —kino
Seijun Suzuki (鈴木 清順, Suzuki Seijun?), born Seitaro Suzuki (鈴木 清太郎 Suzuki Seitarō) on May 24, 1923, is a Japanese filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter. His films are renowned by film enthusiasts worldwide for their jarring visual style, irreverent humour, nihilistic cool and entertainment-over-logic sensibility. He made 40 predominately B-movies for the Nikkatsu Company between 1956 and 1967, working most prolifically in the yakuza genre. His increasingly surreal style began to draw the ire of the studio in 1963 and culminated in his ultimate dismissal for what is now regarded his magnum opus, Branded to Kill (1967), starring notable collaborator Joe Shishido. Suzuki successfully sued the studio for wrongful dismissal but was blacklisted for 10 years. As an independent filmmaker he won critical acclaim and a Japanese Academy Award for his Taishō Trilogy, Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kagero-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991).
His films remained widely unknown outside of Japan until a series… read more
Another stylish crime drama from director Seijun Suzuki, complete with colorful characters, flashy cinematography and production design, a hip jazz score, and fast-paced action and violence. It may not be as visually stunning or psychologically complex as some of Suzuki's other work, but it's still great pulp entertainment.