What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Film Reviews and Release Comparisons
Guro Taku
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 03 Nov 2019, 11:56

Planet of Amoebas (プラネット・オブ・アメーバ) (Japan, 2018) [DVD] - 2/5
Space amoebas from a camouflaged spaceship abduct women and try to mate with them. Certainly a solid enough premise for a schlocky exploitation flick but unfortunately the budget must've been so low that the titular amoebas are literally just dudes covered in pink saran wrap! The human side of the story, which involves a woman who makes her living by recording compromising footage with spycams and the secret government agency trying to fight the aliens isn't exactly thrilling either.

Homejack (ホームジャック) (Japan, 2016) [DVD] - 4/5
A serial killer nicknamed "Jack the Ripper" is murdering women in their own homes. While the media is reporting on his latest victims, Natsuko's (Sasa Handa) husband leaves on a business trip. As soon as her husband is gone, her lover arrives for some quick sex. Unfortunately, she's satisfied by neither her hubby nor her lover, so it's all the better that Jack knocks on the door and teaches her how much she likes abuse and degradation. This leads to surprisingly hilarious scenes like the villain lecturing them on the nutritional value of a proper breakfast and sniffing Natsuko's farts on the toilet! I had a blast with this and will definitely check out the sequels.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 05 Nov 2019, 15:01

Sex Comedy: Quick on the Trigger (セックス喜劇 鼻血ブー) (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 1.5/5
A goofball car salesman (Tonpei Hidari) can't hold it for more than 8 seconds (shouldn't be that difficult with some the ladies this film has to offer), embarks on a scientific project to cure premature ejaculation with newly designed condoms. “Sex Can Be Hilarious” is an alternate title for this, although “This Movie Can Be Shit” would be more appropriate. You know you're in trouble when guest star Shingo Yamashiro is the funniest part of the film. It does get more watchable (the film and the ladies) towards the end though. The one noteworthy point is the amount of nudity and (albeit brief) sex scenes which far exceed the pre-1972 standards, especially for Toei's sex comedies. Director Shin Takakuwa later helmed the more successful Sex Up And Down (1972) and the gritty Sonny Chiba noir A Narcotics Agent's Ballad (1972).

Experience (経験) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] - 3/5
Sweet-talking lady killer kid Hayato Tani hustles with bargirls and girlfriends, and everyone is having good time even when getting an abortion. This has the common Toei youth film characteristic that it doesn't quite seem to be taking place on this planet, most evident when Tani and Tsunehiko Watase have a friendly fist fight to save a girl's face - with neither one dying or even getting a skull fracture from the 50+ received head-punches. Insignificant, but sort of fun film; the final reel especially has a good swing. Imagine Delinquent Girl Boss or Three Pretty Devils minus the gang stuff and double the disco swing and you’re close. Reiko Ohara (does a shower scene with body double), Mieko Tsudoi and Yoko Mihara play the gals, Reiko Oshida does musical cameo as a disco singer, and Tani is energetic in the lead - I'm starting to see where his popularity (with the ladies) stemmed from.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 08 Nov 2019, 15:11

Sex Highway (SEXハイウェイ 女の駐車場) (Japan, 1974) [VoD] - 2/5
Plenty of sex, but no highway. This seems like an aimless miss at first, but an old geezer's young wife falling in love with a young bloke makes for watchable character drama during the 2nd half. Helps that the wife is played by the sweet Yoko Katagiri who delivers one of her better performances. This is also surprisingly un-explicit for 1974. Not to be confused with the Nikkatsu action influenced Sex Rider: Wet Highway (1971).

Gang vs. Gang: The Red and Black Blues (ギャング対ギャング 赤と黒のブルース) (Japan, 1972) [VoD] - 3.5/5
Stylish, well written tale of a to-be Olympic sharpshooter (Koji Tsuruta in one of his best later day roles) who wastes a blackmailing chinpira scum, then has a gangster boss (Noboru Ando in a very good role) waiting for him at the prison gates four years later. The gang could use a man of such talent. There's the usual Junya Sato surplus of gangster brutality, as well as all players from cops to gangsters to civilians laid on the chess table, but also a romantic ninkyo breeze with Tsuruta a man of honour who falls in love with a suicidal woman (Hiroko Fuji, the weakest performance in the film) who witnessed him commit an assassination. One of the rare films that successfully merges bits of ninkyo romanticism with jitsuroku grit, producing a tough film with heart instead of a mediocre halfway-there effort that was the more common outcome of this formula.

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Ivan Drago
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 14 Nov 2019, 10:27

THE LEG FIGHTERS (1980)
Director: Lee Tso-Nam

Great as it is to see a Taiwanese old school indie lovingly preserved on Blu-Ray, this is pretty poor with far too much stupid comic relief (especially from a strange fellow called Ding-Dong who dresses like a Native American draped in bells), an uninspiring villain and underwhelming fights. Dorian Tan Tao-Liang is a decent lead, and Ha Kwong-Li is very adorable, but I wish they'd found the long lost TIGER BOY instead!

4/10
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 14 Nov 2019, 13:10

Scoundrel vs. the Viper Brothers (極道VSまむし) (Japan, 1974) [VoD] – 2.5/5
A crossover between Wakayama's Gokudo and Sugawara Mamushi series. Gokudo runs a restaurant and makes Takuzo Kawatani his kitchen bitch. He tries to do the same for the Mamushi bros. but the boys don't play along, which pisses Gokudo off. Things get worse when he starts helping a young teacher and Bunta has a crush on a pretty girl... and unbeknownst to them it's the same woman! Yes, the film has not one but two romantic subplots! Of course it all ends in bloodshed. Pretty disposable, yet entirely passable cheap entertainment. Lacks highlights, though.

Lusty Discipline in Uniform (セーラー服色情飼育) (Japan, 1982) [VoD] – 3/5
Middle aged, well dressed professor has a crush on a cute high school girl, starts harassing her with obscene phone calls. And he's the film's hero! At first a positively ridiculous piece of Japanese pop culture - surely no other country could produce films like this - but it's only so far till you start feeling bad for the victim, and become disgusted by the filthy bastard of a protagonist. But then, what do you expect from a film written by Gaira Komizu! He wins you over again by the end. Kazumi Kawai, an insanely pretty young actress in her film debut role, plays the stalking interest. This was her first and only foray into Roman Porno, which has further elevated the film's status. She went on to act on TV and films, including Chusei Sone's Blow the Night (1983), before taking her own life by jumping off a building in 1997 at the age of 32. Title is a bit of a misnomer btw, there's little lust under this girl's uniform, and Kawai does little more than topless nudity as contractually stated. The film remains one of Nikkatsu’s most popular titles, having been released theatrically multiple times, as well as on VHS, DVD (4 times!) and BD!

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Guro Taku
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 18 Nov 2019, 10:26

HungFist wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 13:10
Lusty Discipline in Uniform (セーラー服色情飼育) (Japan, 1982) [VoD] – 3/5
Middle aged, well dressed professor has a crush on a cute high school girl, starts harassing her with obscene phone calls. And he's the film's hero!
It's been a while since I watched this but what I found most disturbing about it was that I felt that the script was written with a girl much younger than the lead actress in mind. The way she talked and her overall naiveté didn't seem to make sense for someone the lead actress' age. Maybe that was just me but considering some of the other stuff that Nikkatsu was putting out in the early 80ies, I wouldn't be that surprised.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 18 Nov 2019, 12:23

Guro Taku wrote:
18 Nov 2019, 10:26
HungFist wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 13:10
Lusty Discipline in Uniform (セーラー服色情飼育) (Japan, 1982) [VoD] – 3/5
Middle aged, well dressed professor has a crush on a cute high school girl, starts harassing her with obscene phone calls. And he's the film's hero!
It's been a while since I watched this but what I found most disturbing about it was that I felt that the script was written with a girl much younger than the lead actress in mind. The way she talked and her overall naiveté didn't seem to make sense for someone the lead actress' age. Maybe that was just me but considering some of the other stuff that Nikkatsu was putting out in the early 80ies, I wouldn't be that surprised.
I didn't think about that before, but now that you mention it, yeah, maybe. The scenes between her and her mother are certainly in favor of your argument.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 20 Nov 2019, 05:26

Castle Orgies (色暦大奥秘話) (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 1.5/5
Nikkatsu's half-arsed, first ever Roman Porno production (a double feature with Apartment Wife: Affair in the Afternoon). Setsuko Ogawa stars as a girl forced to leave her boyfriend to join the shogun's harem. This was strictly a concept film: take a routine period drama, add sex scenes and expect audiences to pay up. They did. Loads of sequels followed. Two points worth noting: 1) Some of the music is lifted from Blind Woman's Curse (1970) and 2) All male roles in the film are worth a round zero.

Goodbye Mr. Tears (涙くんさよなら) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] – 4/5
A delightful Nikkatsu youth musical from the days before director Shogoro Nishimura became a Roman Porno vending machine. An American-Japanese girl (16 year old Judy Ongg who starred in Nishimura's tremendously enjoyable Sun Tribe picture Return of the Wolf) travels to Japan in search of a lost mother, hooks up with a bunch of musically minded youngsters (actor/singer Ken Yamauchi and his fellow Young and Fresh band members + Meiko Kaji) for a road trip, hitches a ride in 60s pop super stars The Spiders's tour bus, all while being chased by mass media (one persistent reporter being played by Akira Takahashi, a future Roman Porno heavy). Perhaps not a huge artistic achievement, this is nevertheless terrific fun with great location work, wonderful pace at 81 min, amazing colors popping straight through the screen, and some very funny character play between the too-lovely-for-her-own-sake Ongg and jealous kid Kaji. The title comes from a Japanese 1965 pop song that found popularity after American singer Johnny Tillotson performed it in Japanese and English - he's in the movie, too!

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Guro Taku
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 20 Nov 2019, 12:09

Cinderella Ecstasy (シンデレラエクスタシー 黒い瞳の誘惑) (Japan, 1988) [DVD] - 4/5
Yoshihiro Kawasaki (Hell in Bottles, Madame de Sade) here gives the classic fairy tale a late 80ies Nikkatsu sex flick update. A woman named Reiko stumbles into a shoe store and is given a pair of red shoes that the owner tells her bring good luck. Just before, he refused to sell those same shoes to another woman named Sheila, who is a "Rock Queen" and hangs out with her buddies Kiss and Bowie in their rock den when she's not fronting her band. The shoes soon work their magic as Reiko meets and falls for a motorcycle racer but Sheila is still after the shoes herself and eventually kidnaps Reiko's man. Overlong sex scenes are the only thing I can hold against this otherwise very entertaining film. Kawasaki directs with a lot of style and the characters are all interesting in their own ways. The ending, which sees Sheila asking the rolling ocean waves who is the prettiest woman in the whole world before exploding in a geyser of blood is also quite amazing.

Sex-Crime Coast-Piranha School (肉体犯罪海岸 ピラニヤの群れ) (Japan, 1973) [DVD] - 2/5
A gang of no-good youths calling themselves "Piranha" terrorize a seaside community by breaking into rich folks' mansions, stealing and raping everything in sight. Even at a mere 67 minutes this film by Shogoro Nishimura overstayed its welcome. The influence by the likes of Straw Dogs (1971), Clockwork Orange (1971) and Last House on the Left (1972) is obvious but what's on display here doesn't even touch the better rip-offs of those films. There is an attempt to show that the rich folks are no better than the youths by portraying them as a bunch of backstabbing, cheating cretins. Masumi Jun, as the rich patriarch's rebellious daughter, has the sole good line of the film, when she tells her dad that "fathers are also like piranha, they relentlessly devour those around them". If only the rest of the film had been that interesting. Instead we get a climactic rape scene inside the mansion, with all the youths sporting mime make-up and incredibly incongrous oriental snake charmer music blasting away on the soundtrack.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 20 Nov 2019, 14:48

Guro Taku wrote:
20 Nov 2019, 12:09
Cinderella Ecstasy (シンデレラエクスタシー 黒い瞳の誘惑) (Japan, 1988) [DVD] - 4/5
Yoshihiro Kawasaki (Hell in Bottles, Madame de Sade)
You got me interested. Not because of that bottle from hell, but because I did like some other Kawasaki films, mainly Zoom Up: Graduation Photos, Sukeban: Flesh Slave and Young Girls' Holding Cell , the last two of which I felt would've probably been worse if handled by some other director.
Guro Taku wrote:
20 Nov 2019, 12:09
Sex-Crime Coast-Piranha School (肉体犯罪海岸 ピラニヤの群れ) (Japan, 1973) [DVD] - 2/5
The DVD transfer was alright?

Guro Taku
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 21 Nov 2019, 13:59

HungFist wrote:
20 Nov 2019, 14:48
The DVD transfer was alright?
I think so, yes. I posted a comparison here.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 22 Nov 2019, 14:22

Gambling Code and Feuds (仁義と抗争) (Japan, 1976) [TV] - 2.5/5
A bizarre Toei yakuza film that is fundamentally a semi-fairytale of a husband and wife willing to do a lot for each other... despite the husband being a bit of a jerk. Hiroki Matsukata does his usual energetic act as a lone wolf operator who bounces from one gang to another and kills people occasionally for living. His wife runs a restaurant but it’s not long until she's helping out the husband by part-timing as geisha in yakuza meetings. It makes zero sense and has even less credibility, yet it’s not entirely over-the-top either. Neither the characters nor the film seem to know where they are heading or what the film's tone should be. The strange, upbeat musical score just adds to the confusion. But it does have some entertainment value and pretty cool supporting turns by gang bosses Joe Shishido and Asao Koike (who looks great in gray hair and gray yukata, btw).

Youth A Go-Go (青春ア・ゴーゴー) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 4/5
Another insanely energetic Nikkatsu youth / music picture with student kids (Ken Yamauchi & Young and Fresh again) starting a band. They cross paths with the The Spiders (prominently featured in the film) and find a vocalist in a strange girl (awesome Judy Ongg who gloriously mixes Japanese, Mandarin and English) they meet while practicing in an abandoned church. Also features the most awesome moment of cameraman going nuts with the film's swing and starting to do crazy zooms and movements before flipping the whole camera upside down. Meiko Kaji is in the film too, in a minor little sister role.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 25 Nov 2019, 14:29

The Beauty Pair: Red-Hot Youth (ビューティ・ペア 真赤な青春) (Japan, 1977) [VoD] - 2.5/5
A bizarre Toei docudrama vehicle for the real life wrestling tag team Jackie Sato & Miki Ueda aka The Beauty Pair (some might disagree about the appropriateness of that name). The film features them battling the evil nemesis Black Pair (played by the actual Black Pair Shinobu Aso & Yumi Ikeshita) who prepare for the match by biting each other in the arm! The film runs only 56 min, of which more than half is spent in the ring. Sato & Ueda sing as well, as they did in real life. One gets the feeling this came out just a tad more ridiculous than it was meant to, even by pro wrestling standards.

The Evening Sun Is Crying (夕陽が泣いている) (Japan, 1967) [VoD] – 3.5/5
Another one in a series of Nikkatsu youth films starring Young and Fresh and made in a fruitful collaboration with The Spiders who’d contribute new hit songs and play a supporting role in the storyline. A pessimist might call it shameless commercialism, but why not when everyone, the audience included, benefitted from the results. This film plays out like a more realistic, low key version of Youth a Go-Go with very a similar storyline.The difference is that this time the student band struggles to find any success, as such a band in reality probably would. Curious observation: cinematography somehow levels up 20 minutes before the film’s closing, with some fantastic framing and use of the widescreen format.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Guro Taku » 25 Nov 2019, 22:31

Secret Book: Sleeve and Sleeve (秘本 袖と袖) (Japan, 1974) [DVD] - 2.5/5
Passable erotic period melodrama (set in Meiji 27/1894) from director Akira Kato and based on the novel by Fuyo Oguri. Morio Kazama stars as writer and ladies-man Yonosuke, who gives inept English lessons (using Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) and, one rainy night, is ushered into a lonely woman's house. Her husband is at the front in the war with Russia and, as our hero will soon discover, she's wearing a chastitity belt... But don't expect the ribald, comedic tone found in some of Nikkatsu's other erotic period pieces. This is, for the most part, a rather serious melodrama, just with a bunch of sex. The acting is fine and Kato directs the film as competently as expected but ultimately there isn't anything particularly memorable about it.

Majoran (魔女卵) (Japan, 1984) [TV] - 3.5/5
Seiji Izumi's film is very much your standard youth film, ticking all the boxes of rebellion vs conformity, first love (and sex), friendship and trying to find your identity and way in this world. What sets it apart is that it's all set in Osaka's early 80ies heavy metal scene! Yuko Watanabe is good as the lead actress here and extra credit must be given for most of the girls in this film talking tougher and being more foul-mouthed than any ten yakuza in any given Toei genre flick.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 27 Nov 2019, 05:23

Delinquent Boss (不良番長) (Japan, 1968) [VoD] - 3/5
A surprisingly spicy opening film in what would become a long series of goofy action comedies. The central gang here is basically bullies and rapists on wheels, quite a repulsive bunch really. And that's precisely why the film stands out, especially considering the production year, and mostly avoids the boredom that plagued many other similar pictures. Curiously enough, this was actually given "adult film" classification upon its 1968 release. The violent climax is remarkably bloody indeed, and quite good, though the rating probably stemmed mainly from all sorts of anti-social activity found in the film. Still, it’s nothing special in terms of storytelling, and has some boring bits. 15 sequels followed.

You and I (逢いたくて逢いたくて) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 1.5/5
A rather unbearable vanity project / fan film for singer Mari Sono, disguised as Nikkatsu youth film. A college girl (Sono) participates a look-a-like competition for beloved idol Mari Sono (Sono again) and wins it. The film's first half is made of shockingly unfunny and boring college drama/comedy but it gets a bit better when the showbiz hits in. Tetsuya Watari and Chieko Matsubara play reporters, Meiko Kaji a school girl friend. Their roles aren't worth a lot. Still, the film at least looks good. I had to resort to a fair bit of fast forwarding to make it to the end so I may have missed something.

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 27 Nov 2019, 22:56

SWORDSMAN II (1992)

Jet Li is no Sam Hui (and vice versa), but Briggite Lin's mesmerising performance as the heraphmodite supernatural villian makes this a worthy sequel.
7/10

TREASURE OF BRUCE LEE (1979)

I checked this previously unseen Bruce Le potboiler out to commemorate Chen Sing's passing, only it turned out the footage of him in this (and that of Bolo and James Nam) was all repurposed from the far superior BRUCE AND SHAOLIN KUNG FU!!!
Yeah, I got screwed
3/10
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Markgway » 30 Nov 2019, 00:31

Ivan Drago wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 10:27
THE LEG FIGHTERS (1980)
Director: Lee Tso-Nam

Great as it is to see a Taiwanese old school indie lovingly preserved on Blu-Ray, this is pretty poor with far too much stupid comic relief (especially from a strange fellow called Ding-Dong who dresses like a Native American draped in bells), an uninspiring villain and underwhelming fights. Dorian Tan Tao-Liang is a decent lead, and Ha Kwong-Li is very adorable, but I wish they'd found the long lost TIGER BOY instead!

4/10
It's certainly not the choice I would've made to kick off a label. So many better indies out there. I only hope sales were good enough to justify a continuation.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 01 Dec 2019, 00:02

Markgway wrote:
30 Nov 2019, 00:31
Ivan Drago wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 10:27
THE LEG FIGHTERS (1980)
Director: Lee Tso-Nam

Great as it is to see a Taiwanese old school indie lovingly preserved on Blu-Ray, this is pretty poor with far too much stupid comic relief (especially from a strange fellow called Ding-Dong who dresses like a Native American draped in bells), an uninspiring villain and underwhelming fights. Dorian Tan Tao-Liang is a decent lead, and Ha Kwong-Li is very adorable, but I wish they'd found the long lost TIGER BOY instead!

4/10
It's certainly not the choice I would've made to kick off a label. So many better indies out there. I only hope sales were good enough to justify a continuation.
It's in pretty good condition, so maybe it required less work.
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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » 03 Dec 2019, 15:32

My Sweetheart (君は恋人) (1967) [VoD] - 2/5
A Nikkatsu youth / musical about a young actor making a comeback (Mitsuo Hamada making a real comeback after an 8 month hospital stint following a bar fight that nearly blinded him) in a yakuza film that he feels is too dark and needs to be re-written. The tale unfolds with the “film” being the main story and the “reality” interacting with the fiction. Despite the curious concept and meta aspect, this is mass entertainment with several musical numbers and tons of cameos & supporting roles with major stars (Yujiro Ishihara, Ichiro Araki, Tetsuya Watari, Joe Shishido, Meiko Kaji, Akira Kobayashi, The Spiders etc.). The ridiculously long opening credits with a list of nearly a dozen songs featured in the film give some indication. Not much coherence or innovation to be found here, just superficial mass entertainment.

Love Eternal (骨まで愛して) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 3/5
A romantic Nikkatsu action film with the always charming Tetsuya Watari / Chieko Matsubara pairing. Watari is a young yakuza who finds new life in rural Hokkaido until the past comes knocking. Nobuo Kaneko is the crooked boss, Joe Shishido a nemes / friend and Ruriko Asaoka a woman from the past. Slick and good looking film with decent characters, though ultimately nothing too special. Based on a Takuya Jo hit song “Hone made aishite”, adapted into a film screenplay by songwriter Kohan Kawauchi himself who doubled as both screenwriter and songwriter (and had a successful career in both).

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Re: What asian film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

Unread post by HungFist » Yesterday, 07:22

The Beautiful Teen (美しい十代) (Japan, 1964) [VoD] - 2.5/5
A young yakuza punk (Mitsuo Hamada) falls in love with an adorable orphan girl (Mieko Nishio) who is going out with a sweet guy (Akira Mita) who loves kids, animals and singing. Guess who wins her heart? A pretty enjoyable Nikkatsu youth / lightweight yakuza mash-up if you can get past the above mentioned relationship realism (!). The only problem is that the film proceeds nicely towards a climax that... never arrives. It almost feels as if the screenwriter died before finishing the story (though that was not the case, she, Fukiko Miyauchi, survived until 2010). Oh and the film’s English translation title is an absolute disaster: The Japanese title refers to an age period (10-19), not some pretty teenager!

Brothers of Capones (舶来仁義 カポネの舎弟) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] – 3.5/5
Completely ridiculous, and yet superbly entertaining action comedy non-sense with Tomisaburo Wakayama as Kuriyama Capone who learned his trade under Al Capone in Chicago. The film follows his first venture to Japan with gangster brothers Frank (Shingo Yamashiro) and Joe (Fumio Watanabe). They all speak heavily American accented Japanese with bits of English here and there, something that caused my brain to melt at least a dozen times. And if that isn’t enough, the film has them watching a Tomisaburo Wakayama flick in cinema (“who’s that guy, some C-grade actor!”) and being chased by gangster and the FBI, including the granddaughter of Eliot Ness (played by a blonde actress who is actually pretty good!). The whole thing is a good amount of fun, the performances especially (Wakayama, Yamashiro, Watanabe in a rare heroic role), making this one of routine director Takashi Harada’s best pictures.

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