Shozo Hirono is a former Japanese soldier who, following his nation’s defeat in World War II, finds himself in a prison cell in Hiroshima on a murder charge. While behind bars, Hirono gains a loyal friend in fellow criminal Wagasugi, and upon his release Hirono joins Wagasugi in an underworld gang.
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The Yakuza Papers: Battles Without Honor and HumanityDirected byKinji Fukasaku
Going into the Yakuza Papers I really wanted to love it... It has an erratic and dynamic visual style that is just incredibly unique. I loved the film's in your face attitude! However, the plot itself is just so dense and confusing! The fast pace of the film doesn't help. The Yakuza Papers is whizzing by so quick that you never have anytime to get to know any of the characters or even figure out what is happening!
Gangster films are like eating junk food. A guilty pleasure I later regret indulging in. We are seduced into empathizing with male suffering in an unjust social order. Fukasaku gives us a world of romanticized assholes; a dark morality tale. But although it might be a fun ride, please don't take it seriously as social commentary. The underside of capital and state power does not equal its opposite.
I forgot just how much fun these movies are. (Bursts of savage violence! Betrayal! Blood!) Fukasaku was going for the visceral and the jugular - so personally, I think anyone trying to keep track of the madness is missing part of the method. This is chaos, an anarchy of souls and men suffering from post-war radiation poisoning, and passing the symptoms along to everyone else. Post-apocalypse.
Forget the chivalry and honor that you often see in japanese gangster movies. The key word here is realism. Fukasaku shows it like it is: brutal, unpredictable and violent. It's a bit of a chore trying to keep up with all the names and affiliations and the politics of it all. The action scenes are the best parts of the picture. They're energetic and fast-paced and they feel real.