Rogue homicide detective Azuma takes on a sadistic crime syndicate, only to discover widespread internal corruption in the police force. Facing criminal charges for his “Dirty Harry”-type methods, Azuma finds himself caught in a web of betrayal that sends him on a bloody trail of vengeance.
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Kitano crafted a style that oscillated between deadpan poetry and bursts of surreal violence, using his own stoic (but somehow still strangely expressive) visage as both aesthetic and narrative device.
As vicious as its title suggests, Violent Cop nonetheless boasts a wit typical of its director/star Takeshi “Beat” Kitano, a former stand-up comedian who laces his behind-the-camera debut—which he took the reins of after the initial director backed out—with a dry humor that enhances its bleak brutality.
VIOLENT COP remains a stunning debut feature. It must have genuinely stunned, being as it is a fierce and destabilizing portrait of cold and cruel gangland warfare, as good as if not better than anything by Kinji Fukasaku (who was originally meant to direct it), directed by an ever-present comedian and TV personality. And of course it is funny, gleefully so (if nonetheless resolutely deadpan). A master arrives.
Kitano's first work is a mindblowing study into the nurture of violence, in it's mechanisms, it's social context and it's reproduction. With a more than almost deterministic chain of cause&effect Kitano pushes us down the road, constantly showing recripocal, structural character of violence. There is no crime movie, no riddles, just violence - and a masterpiece of perspective.
Or "Believed Violent," (a better title). "Dirty Harry" with consequences, populated with archetypes who bleed. It's marvelously, meticulously composed, and elegantly photographed, but it also plays fast and loose; invigoratingly unpredictable and stirringly nihilistic. Kitano has since dismissed his powerful debut as amateurish, but it is truly anything but. A masterpiece.
Enjoyed the slow saxophone wail during the chase scenes--makes a nice change from the usual pounding action flick score. Funny bit with the rookie refusing to break the law during the car chase. Sister's fate terrible to watch; at least they cut away at the end.
Kitano's first is not as developed, yet has quirks in terms of style and the usual dark humor. It's also scattershot in flair, ultimately seeming routine in terms of plot and non-affecting in terms of story. Kitano often communicates emotion sans dialogue, but when the camera lingers on him in this one he seems more robotic, rather than a tortured soul. The flippantly violent and bleak finale is memorable, though.
What starts as a black comedy police flick progresses into a story about two inhumanly bloodthirsty lunatics hell-bent on burning the world down around the other. Mean as hell, almost comically cynical. A Jim Thompson-style morality play from the 1980s that couldn't have come from anywhere but Japan.