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Japan, 1989 (MIFF 1992, Spotlight Takeshi)

Director: Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi makes his directorial debut in what on the surface at least is a standard 'rene­gade cop' genre film. Takeshi plays Detective Azuma, the department's 'wild-card' whose unorthodox methods, while successful, distress his superiors. Azuma's colleague is murdered and it evolves that he has been selling drugs confiscated by the police. Nothing is done (about the murder or the colleague's activities), so Azuma goes straight to the top, to the insidi­ous ring-leaders of organized crime.

Unlike previous rogue cop incarnates, most notably Eastwood's Dirty Harry (to which this film has been frequently compared), Azuma is a lumbering and laconic slob. Takeshi plays it all straight as an arrow; his deadpan grimaces and brooding silences are as threatening and ominous as they are bleakly comic and droll.

The direction — leisurely long-takes and deep focus shots, a preference for mise-en-scene than the effects of editing and montage — per­fectly complements the lean and mean perfor­mance. Refreshingly free of the grand-standing of most American action films, but with plenty of high-velocity thrills and spills along the way, the spirit of the film certainly lives up to its original Japanese title, which roughly trans­lates as "Watch out! This man is wild."

See also...


Japan, 2004
Blood and Bones centres on Kim Sun-pei, a Korean migrant attempting to build a fortune in Japan. Contrary to his hopes, the Japan he encounters is a brutal world of discrimination and hard labour. Re… More »


Japan, 2005
Legendary Japanese director, actor and hardman, Kitano ‘Beat' Takeshi, puts the ‘gang' back into ‘doppelganger' with this hyper-real violation of the traditional rules of film form and biograph… More »


France, 2008
“I love the Yakuza… I see them as the heirs to the samurai spirit.” - actor Sonny Chiba ... Literally translated as ‘good-for-nothing', Japan's criminal brotherhood - the Yakuza - underw… More »


Japan, 1990
... ... In Japan, Takeshi Kitano currently advertises a product called 'Jolt Cola'. Aside from his endorsement, the selling point is that it boasts twice the caffeine of regular colas. For once, star… More »


Japan, 1991
... ... The expectations set by Takeshi's previous two films were purposefully undone when he moved past American action films and com­pletely wrote out of the script his own distinc­tive per… More »

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