Shinjuku Outlaws

Year: 1994
 Takashi Miike
Rating: 6.0

This film was made three years after Takashi's debut and he is still in the world of V-Cinema i.e. straight to video productions - but clearly in those three years Miike has upped his skills considerably. The plot is much more complicated, the characters are more fully drawn out and the graphic violence is rougher - with one scene of a woman getting beaten up tough to digest. Miike clearly has a much larger budget to play with indicating that his videos were doing well and getting attention. This is a very solid production with many of the themes here emerging in his later better known Yakuza films of revenge, betrayal, friendship and his often misogynistic outlook that I always find puzzling.

In Hiroshima the boss of one gang is dying and another gang is taking advantage of the situation - so the son of the dying boss turns to his underlings and says so who will take care of this - pointedly looking at Yomi (Hiroyuki Watanabe) - who basically says oh shit, I guess it's me - and asks his friend Eto (Tatsuo Yamada) to look after his sister if he doesn't make it back. He calls a crooked cop and tells him what he is going to do and the cop promises to withdraw any cops watching. It isn't the most graceful or smart of hits - he goes up to the other boss who is bowling with his small granddaughter and surrounded by his bodyguards and shoots him - splattering blood all over the little girl - and is immediately gunned down. There had to be a better way.

Yomi isn't killed though - just supposedly brain dead - and ten years later he wakes up - the son, his new boss, tells him things have changed and he should leave town and gives him a job - to kill Eto who is now in Tokyo with Yomi's sister who he has turned into a prostitute. Yomi accepts but the story doesn't go where you expect it to - in a sense Yomi wanders through the film like a ghost - a man apart - a man who has already died once and seems to not be afraid the second time around. In Tokyo the Taiwanese Yakuza are taking over - following none of the rules that the Japanese Yakuza live by and as these two gangs battle it out, Yomi and a Filipina prostitute he has become involved with try and figure out how to play this and come out alive.
This is up on You Tube and has some nudity in it - I didn't think that was allowed - maybe Miike is the exception!