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BOILING POINT

Japan, 1990 (MIFF 1992, Spotlight Takeshi)

Director: Takeshi Kitano

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 and product are perfectly matched. The crowds that saw Violent Cop will not be sur­prised to hear that Takeshi's new film is anoth­er electrifying entertainment.

The David-and-Goliath plot gets into gear when scrawny teenager Masaki gets into a fight with a yakuza and accidentally breaks the gangster's arm, leaving himself and the gas station where he works open to massive reprisals. What to do? Masaki and a couple of friends fly to Okinawa to buy a gun to protect themselves. On arrival they tag along with a local yakuza (played, inimitably, by Takeshi himself) whose off-the-wall behaviour scares them rigid. He turns out to be caught up in a gang war of his own, and soon they're dodging bullets. But they get their gun and head home for a cataclysmic showdown.

Boiling Point is even better than Violent Cop; a slow-bum thriller that underpins its cri­tique of selfishness and small-mindedness with shocks, breathtaking surprises and truly outra­geous jokes. And twice the caffeine.

• Tony Rayns

See also...

BLOOD AND BONES

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 »

TAKESHIS'

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 »

YAKUZA EIGA

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 »

VIOLENT COP

Japan, 1989
... ... 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 … More »

A SCENE AT THE SEA

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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