His fellow cast members are equally suited in this tragic affair. His performance is one of move and counter move, always hoping for a peaceful resolution but never getting it. Generally a film series that gets a multi-disc re-issue is one that the general movie-going public is familiar with. That said, currently the prices for this box set are pretty high due to its limited release nature. I also had to clean up all the dead bodies. Supplements: What are the extras? Making their English-language home video debut in this limited edition set the New Battles Without Honour and Humanity films are important links between the first half of Fukasaku's career and his later exploration of other genres.
This film and the two that would follow it is not based entirely on fact any more, but the plot is so realistic that I had no idea as I watched it. Kusunoki's a wreck, but Kuroda still wants his money. The first film fares the best, with the fourth and fifth films looking almost as beautiful. These films are unforgettable and challenging in their scope and complexity. For less than 10-minute Yamane talks a little about what led to this film after Fukasaku finished the original five film series basically the other films made so much money Toei wanted the series to continue.
The Fukasaku biographer and film expert also stated that for the rest of his career Fukasaku was approached many times by producers to create movies similar to Battles, but always turned them down wanting to move on to films he found interesting. That final film also ends where the previous seven films dared not go, ending the series with a memorable climax and unforgettable final freeze-frame of Sugawara. As Takeida is sent to prison for a gun wrap, he trusts the organization to his protege. One of the reasons these films are so effective is the true basis behind them. While in prison he befriends Shozo Hirono. For this new series, Fukasaku agreed to come back and work on the series but requested that Toei allow him to switch up the actors into different roles.
This new interest in female characters tracks on of the reasons Fukasaku is such an interesting director to follow - however quickly he made his films and however much he stayed in the same lane in the '70s alone he made more than a dozen yakuza movies his curiosity and creative energies were always in motion. The second film just barely touched on what Shozo had been up to after leaving the Yamamori clan. In the original series he played lead character Shozo Hirono, based on real life yakuza Kozo Mino, upon whose memoirs the series was drawn. Be warned though that they make no concessions to Western tastes, and so are probably mostly of interest to viewers who are already familiar with the tropes and eccentricities of the yakuza crime film. While in stir, family member Aoki Lone Wolf and Cub's Tomisaburo Wakayama attempts to seize power from the boss, and Miyoshi finds himself stuck between the two factions with no honorable way out. And in Last Days of the Boss Sugawara plays Nozaki a labourer who swears allegiance to a sympathetic crime boss only to find himself elected his successor after the boss is murdered.
Lead actor Sugawara exudes incredible cool in each of his roles here, effortlessly portraying tough gangster characters who rise to middle management in the yakuza crime syndicate. Those bonus features are headlined by an appreciation by a Fukasaku biographer and a new interview with the second and third films' screenwriter where he discusses the production of his films. This was unlike any special feature that I can recall, and was really fun to watch. After the second film, the anti-crime unit of the police in Hiroshima said they would not support on-location shooting. The most famous of these pictures was a series of films called Battles Without Honour and Humanity, a series that Arrow Video has recently released on Blu-ray.
Each one is also a top-notch crime action thriller: hard-boiled entertaining and distinguished by Fukasaku's directorial genius funky musical scores by composer Toshiaki Tsushima and the onscreen power of Toei's greatest yakuza movie stars. In the first New Battles, Sugawara plays Makio Miyoshi of the Yamamori Gang. I really can not think of any problems that come to mind with these tracks, aside from the repetitive nature of the score throughout the series of films. Along the way, Shozo balances old allegiances and new ones as he tries to navigate the playing field. And in Last Days of the Boss, Sugawara plays Nozaki, a laborer who swears allegiance to a sympathetic crime boss, only to find himself elected his successor after the boss is murdered.
Frequently nude Toei actress Reiko Ike is the female lead, a Korean prostitute. Kasahara was supportive of Takada, giving him all the research materials he had created for the first four films. Sonny Chiba is particularly memorable as a nearly insane and anarchic gang leader in the film. There was really no reason to wrap up the series with an additional wrap up, but the film is still very good. I'm sure those experiences have influenced the way I look at violence. He builds up his cast and story, piling intrigue into tragedy and letting the whole thing come to a boil.
In the first film, Bunta Sugawara is Miyoshi, a low-level assassin of the Yamamori gang who is sent to jail after a bungled hit. As such, New Battles sometimes feels like a near parody highlight reel of things that were done in the earlier series, pushed to their extreme. After a few weeks of watching the films, I can finally let you know my opinion of the set in general. They are also an excellent history lesson on Japan during the middle of the twentieth century. The acting throughout is very good. In 2009, the magazine named it fifth on an aggregated list of the Top 10 Japanese Films of All Time as voted by over one hundred film critics and writers. Apart from this issue, the narratives of revenge, betrayal and murder are action packed and immensely entertaining, especially when Bunta Sugawara intimidates one of the weasely gang lieutenants.
Director Kinji Fukasaku's five-film Battles without Honor and Humanity 1973-74 had been too popular and critical a success to simply stop making them. The stars are narrative characters, with the low-ranking yakuza that are endlessly killed off the real focus of the movies. Violence happens frequently in the film, and occasionally the film will feel a bit confusing for the first time viewer. The series was so well received by critics and audiences alike that they made another installment. However, within a Japanese context he is probably most well known for his Yakuza pictures, tales of rogues and robbers looking to get ahead in post war Japan. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality. While incarcerated in he wrote his memoir and upon being released in 1970, retired from the yakuza life.
Actor Takashi Noguchi said that although Fukasaku would be given a one-month deadline, he always went over it taking 50 or 60 days. One of the unexpected pluses of the current blu-ray cult film collector market has been the opportunity to finally catch up on some of the less well-known examples of 1970s Japanese cinema. This was the last collaboration between screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara and Kinji Fukasaku in the series and the film comes to a natural and fitting conclusion. Far from the vision of Japan as a futuristic metropolis, Fukasaku's Japan is grimy and filthy with exposed plumbing and wiring. All the stories of the New Battles films follow lower members of criminal families caught in a battle between corrupt gang bosses and boisterous underlings trying to maintain a sense of honour despite the increasingly nihilistic nature of their profession.