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Archive for October 7th, 2012

In the 2nd of the Battles Without Honor movie series it is 1950 and Shozo Hirono is in prison after the events of the first movie. Here he meets Shoji Yamanaka, an angry young man who has been thrown in prison for assaulting a group of people in a gambling den. Yamanaka manages to get parole after 2 years but soon crosses the path of crazed yakuza Katsutoshi Otomo. He and his gang of hoodlums beats him up and Yamanaka swears revenge. His actions soon bring him to the attention of the head of the Muraoka family and he accepts their invitation to join their ranks. However he is soon making a mistake of falling in love with his Muraoka’s niece Yasuko. Punished for doing this as her former husband was a WWII hero, he given a chance of redemption in killing a construction company boss. Katsutoshi Otomo gets even more power hungry and plans to wipe out the Muraoka family with his own little gang. A gang war breaks out on the streets of Hiroshima but which side will come out on top?

It’s been a while since I last watched one of the Battles Without Honor movies, last October in fact when I saw the 3rd in the series Proxy War so there was always a chance I’d come back and see the 2nd movie. This movie instead of focusing on the “hero” of the 1st movie Shozo Hirono we follow a new character Shoji Yamanaka although Hirono does appear in many scenes but the character mostly takes a back seat in this instalment. He’s more of an observer than one who gets involved in a gang war. Director Kinji Fukasaku has refrained from just rehashing the plot from the first movie and has tweaked some things in order to make the storyline more interesting for the viewer. It still retains the freeze frame moment whenever a character is introduced or dies in the story. This is more of a tale of a young man who learns the hard way what it means to be a yakuza. Although revenge is Yamanaki’s driving force in the movie, he also wants the hand of Yasuko but it proves to be difficult and ends on a tragic note. This movie has still got the usual betrayals, violence, bloody shootouts etc that made the first movie so popular. The violence is brutal and unforgiving and thanks to the gritty cinematography of Sadaji Yoshida the viewer finds themselves at times slap bang in the middle of the fighting that goes on. Director Fukusaku manages to get across his point that all this violence is completely pointless.

There’s quite a strong cast for this movie from the fantastic Sonny Chiba as the psychotic nutjob yakuza Katsutoshi Omoto who wants to break away from his father’s empire. A man who loves to spread chaos and anarchy wherever he goes. I was surprised to see Meiko Kaji also involved in this movie. Don’t come into this movie expecting her to play one of her more familiar roles as a badass woman because her character is more meek and definitely less intense than what the majority of viewers are used to seeing her. Seizo Fukumoto gives a great performance as the brooding and impulsive Yamanaka and Bunta Sugawara is more restrained as Hirono this time round.

Deadly Fight In Hiroshima moves the overall storyarc of the series very well and having seen the 3rd movie, I guess it’s high time for me to take a look at the 4th movie very soon. The fast moving plot filled with thrills and sudden bursts of violence is well worth watching.

No trailer I’m afraid.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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