Showing posts with label Yasuharu Hasebe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yasuharu Hasebe. Show all posts

7 April 2015

Blu-ray Review - Massacre Gun (1967)

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Crime, World Cinema
Arrow Video
BD Release Date:
6th April 2015 (UK)
Yasuharu Hasebe
Jô Shishido, Tatsuya Fuji, Ryôji Hayama, Takashi Kanda,
Buy:Massacre Gun [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]

Massacre Gun is a Japanese Yakuza crime thriller and stars the actor most associated with the genre - to western audiences at least - Jô Shishido. Shishido is also noted for being one of the first actors known to have plastic surgery but it was to enlarge his cheeks back in the ‘50s. Massacre Gun is similar in style to Seijun Suzuki’s films but lacks the distinctive pop-art surrealism that is on show in his films.

The story of Massacre Gun is fairly standard crime film stuff; it’s about a turf war between rival gangs after Kuroda (Jô Shishido) is forced to kill his lover. He teams up with his brothers who have also been wronged by the mob to escalate their retaliation. It’s surprisingly violent for a Japanese film from the ‘60s- after all, this was the year of Bonnie &Clyde.

The director of Massacre Gun is Yasuharu Hasebe who was an assistant to Suzuki early on his career. He would later become notorious for extremely problematic “pink films”, which often had violent rape scenes. Despite his later forays into this kind of “filmmaking” Massacre Gun is a extremely stylist film which a groovy 60s jazz score and an air of noir melancholy that is only in some of the darker ends of American noir.

The climax is a shoot out on a deserted highway that would have Tarantino jizzing so hard his eyes would pop out of their sockets. It’s a more straightforward film than Suzuki’s work due to it’s narrative precision that is almost like Sam Fuller in style, very blunt no nonsense filmmaking at it’s finest. Kazue Nagatsuka is responsible for the cinematograpy who photographed a lot of Suzuki’s film so the overall look is reminiscent just without the surreal angles, lighting and production design.

Arrow Video is always reliable when it comes to special features and this is no exception. The two main features are an interview with Jô Shishido and lengthy interview with historian Tony Rayns who does a lengthy history of the studio behind the film Nikkatsu. Rayns will be doing a similar piece but the upcoming release of Retaliation but a focus on the work of Yasuharu Hasebe.

Ian Schultz