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Branded To Kill [DVD]

J Shishido , Kji Nanbara , Seijun Suzuki    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: J Shishido, Kji Nanbara, Isao Tamagawa, Anne Mari, Mariko Ogawa
  • Directors: Seijun Suzuki
  • Writers: Atsushi Yamatoya, Chsei Sone, Hachiro Guryu, Mitsutoshi Ishigami, Takeo Kimura
  • Producers: Kaneo Iwai, Takiko Mizunoe
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Feb 2002
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UQWD
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,142 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Seijun Suzuki's absolutely mad yakuza movie Branded to Kill bends the hit-man genre so out-of-shape it more resembles a Luis Bunuel take on Martin Scorsese. Number Three killer Goro Hanada (Jo Shishido) is a hired gun who loves his work, but when he misses a target after a mere butterfly sets his carefully balanced aim astray, he becomes the next target of the mob. Goro is no pushover and easily dispatches the first comers, leaving them splayed in death contortions that could qualify for an Olympic event, but the rat-a-tat violence gives way to a surreal, sadistic game of cat and mouse. The legendary Number One mercilessly taunts his target before moving in with him in a macho, testosterone-laden Odd Couple truce that ends up with them handcuffed together.

Kinky? Not compared to earlier scenes. The smell of boiling rice sets Goro's libido for his mistress so aflame that Suzuki censors the gymnastic sex with animated black bars that come to life in an animated cha-cha. Because Suzuki pushed his yakuza parodies and cinematic surrealism too far, his studio, Nikkatsu, finally called in their own metaphoric hit and fired the director with such force that he was effectively blackballed from the industry for a decade. It took about that long for audiences to embrace his audacious genre bending--Suzuki's pop-art sensibilities were just a bit ahead of their time. --Sean Axmaker,

Product Description

Cult director Seijun Suzuki's stylish gangster classic. Gunman Hanada Goro is ranked No 3 killer in the Tokyo underworld, but when he accepts a new job from the beautiful mystery woman Misako it signals the beginning of the end for his illustrious career. Hanada bungles the job - a butterfly lands on his rifle sights just as he was about to take aim - and according to the strict rules under which the assassins operate, this is not something which can go unpunished. Thus Hanada finds himself entering into a deadly conflict with the legendary No.1 killer, the assassin sent to avenge Hanada's fatal error.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
When "Branded to Kill" was released in 1967 it caused quite a stir in Japan. Critics condemned it, the director Suzuki fell out of favour with his boss, the director of the movie company Ninkatsu distanced himself from it and considered it a mistake to have released it. While the presence of the yakuza is minimal in the movie, due to the focus organised crime one can place it in this genre.
And this is likely why the film inspired such uproar. 1967 was still the age of the 'noble yakuza' movie (with as central heroes Tsuruta Koji and Takakura Ken) resembling the samurai films with their honourable wandering swordsmen. They dealt with noble gangsters keeping to the old rules and passing through life with honour who were pushed to the limit by crude (usually western or Chinese) gangster brutes that tried to destroy the Japanese traditional ways. Only later, when Fukasaku Kinji appeared on the scene with such films as "Tarnished Code of the Yakuza", "Yakuza Graveyard", and "Cops VS Thugs", nihilism and decadence became the trademark of the yakuza movie, with Sugurawa Bunta as its leading protagonist.
"Branded to Kill" is a contes cruel, a dark and violent movie with touches of black humour. A professional hitman (no.3 on the national list of best killers) becomes obsessed with a strange girl that hires him. These elements, the tormented hero and the dangerous female, are very prevalent in Japanese cinema in general, as well as the haunting opening song (usually sung by the protagonist himself) about the contents of the movie. When no.3 accidentally shoots the wrong person only his death is adequate atonement for his foul-up. There's a price on his head, and no.1 is the man who's going for him.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foreign Films You Should Know About #1 22 Jun 2006
Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima cranked up the concept of reality T.V a few notches in 1970 when he invited a few of his media pals along to a hijacking of a government building where he then performed seppuku (Ritual self disembowelling) as a protest against the erosion of traditional Japanese values. Japan in the late 60's saw an upsurge of such demonstrations against western influence - an uprising which had seen riots outside the Budokan Sports Arena a few years previously when the Beatles appeared there. Somewhere during this volatile chapter of cultural osmosis director Seijun Suzuki got fired by the Nikkitsu film company for making his masterpiece BRANDED TO KILL.

This maverick film maker was already on thin ice with his fiercely conservative paymasters when his 1966 film TOKYO DRIFTER took the Yakuza (Japanese gangster) genre into new (and thus feared) directions but BRANDED TO KILL was the one that finally broke the chopstick - Rendering the director unemployable for a decade.

BRANDED TO KILL charts the fall and fall of No3 Killer, (Jo Shishido) a down at heel hitman, who bodges an assignment when a butterfly lands on the end of his rifle just at the crucial moment. For this gaff he is now subject to the murderous attentions of the mythical No1 Killer.

Looking like a giant Gopher in a mohair suit and Raybans, No3 Killer finds himself in a bizarre vortex of shadows and monochrome as he attempts to save his girlfriend from being incinerated, get the better of superior Killer No1 and to survive to become No1 himself. His bizarre quirk of using boiled rice as a form of Viagra does nothing to make his journey anymore straightforward.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Given a sequel three decades after the original, a Pistol Opera was viewed by some as a confused & overly experimental film ironically in the same way the original Branded to Kill was. Jarring with a brilliant sense of frenetic energy, the film works on a premise that removes establishing shots as scenes are witnessed fresh without the comfort of knowing. Character action & motivation initialize each moment and desire evolves as key throughout. As a whole it has a sense of fusion akin to its jazz soundtrack; once the viewer becomes accustomed to its language it feels far more natural and less forced than conventional cinema can. The central focus of this film revolves around the hitman, No. 3 Killer Hando, played with a gleeful psychosis by the gerbil faced Jo Shishido. Manipulated by all, he finds himself agreeing to make an impromptu hit for a suicidal temptress named Misako (Mari Annu). When all turns sour, the bigger picture of misinformation becomes clearer, only for Hando to find himself the target of the mysterious No. 1 Killer. The themes of manipulation highlight the auteur at his best. Filled with iconic imagery, a plumb-line of observation links minutia of detail such as Misako?s car accessorized with a dead needle-staked bird, with her pinned butterfly filled apartment and her attempt to poison prick Hando. Happenstance & desire mix with the elemental worlds of water, sex and temptation. While the perverse is treated with the kink of humour it deserves and the seriousness of shock it cannot live without.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Cultural disconnect?
Incoherent, disconnected, just did not work for me. maybe a cultural disconnect on my part.
Published 14 days ago by rogan boon
4.0 out of 5 stars "Branded To Kill" on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues For UK and...
At present this 1967 cult movie is only available on BLU RAY in the States. But therein lies a problem for UK and European buyers who want to own it…

The desirable US... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mark Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece by Suzuki.
This is truly a very bizarre film. It's surreal, it's like a dream, a nightmare. This is a film that could only be made by a genius like Seijun Suzuki. Read more
Published 20 months ago by BILL
1.0 out of 5 stars Cult Trash
Seijun Suzuki is probably the most overated Japanese director in the West, it is completely inexplicable how his films are hailed as "cult classics" having watched a few of his... Read more
Published on 5 July 2012 by Joseph
4.0 out of 5 stars Sixties Head Trip
Probably the most bizarre, unusual, avant-arty movie I've seen come out of the 60s. Far ahead for its time and demanding of yours - the viewer must be prepared to pay attention. Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2007 by Paul Pinn
3.0 out of 5 stars branded with talent
What is it about this film that made me want to see it again and again? I'll tell you, it is quite simply one of the most visually stunning and original films I have ever seen -... Read more
Published on 20 April 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Yakuza violence and cool with 60s trippiness...
Starts out as a cool gangster / action film. Becomes an intense thriller.
This film lives next to Get Carter on my shelf and is as high in my esteem. Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2002
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