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Shinjuku Triad Society

Tomorowo Taguchi , Takeshi Caesar , Takashi Miike    Universal, suitable for all   DVD

Price: 9.28
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in un mondo sotterraneo dominato da tonalita' oscure e sinistre, dove la polizia usa mezzi violenti ed inadeguati al pari dei criminali che insegue, il detective mezzosangue tatsuhito da' la caccia al sadico omosessuale cinese wang. un viaggio senza speranza da shinjuku a taiwan, costellato di presenze inquietanti, di drammi familiari, di vite distrutte e di crimini disumani.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grit personified. 12 May 2006
By Shaun - Published on
The scene is a rather familiar mixture of police versus yakuza, but shot at street level, with a gritty lens. It essentially begins with the murder of a police informer, who's found dismembered, lying in the street. The scene is a frenzied one, with passers-by horning in on the crime scene, investigators combing the crown for someone who can translate a witness's statements, and beat cops who pose for candid photos with the severed head! The entire film spans mostly Taiwanese & Japanese locales, Triad & Yakuza territories, and a multitude of dialects surrounding the Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese gangsters. In fact, the language barriers (or more precisely, the languages themselves) are nearly characters in and of themselves. Even the police get wrapped up by it.

After a violent and multi-faceted beginning, the film becomes clearer; the Chinese-born Kiriya is a Japanese cop who becomes obsessed with saving his younger brother's future as a lawyer, while Yoshihito (the younger brother) has agreed to help in an "illegal" underground organ harvesting program the Yakuza and Triads have been conducting. The Chinese police know about it, but they consider two willing parties as a legit deal, 'Who has been wronged?', they say. Kiriya is sent to China to investigate the organ-harvesting case, but uses most of the time to investigate Wang, the head of a syndicate, who has employed Yoshihito as council/intermediary.

The film definitely has a gritty, 1980's feel to it, and catches the far east gangster scene at the height of it's power and brutality. Nobody is safe, noone is untouchable. I don't presume to "get" everything going on here, there's so many facets to a society I've never known, but Miike does a great job at parsing the dynamics/motivations of every character; even if they don't have a major role. Be it a drugged-up, strung-out whore who ultimately wants to live a normal life, or a Japanese officer who cares deeply for his Chinese parents that speak no Japanese and feel lost in the country they now live. One of those is a major character, and one is a minor one...but both lives are illuminated sufficiently. If I had to mention a negative, it would be that there's just so much jammed into the film that it was pulled in too many directions. The up-side is that it never became convoluted. Another would be, and I don't know if Miike did it for show/shock, but the movie is packed (no pun intended) with loads (no pun intended) of gay sex between the gangters themselves or the gangters and a couple of androgynous man-children. The police even use ass-rape as an interogation tactic. He lost me there.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, just perfect 24 July 2006
By Wux Iapan - Published on
In the last years I tried to get into the nasty yakuza movie genre where a lot of blood is flowing, a lot of coldness, depravity and stuff is going hand-in-hand with themes of loyality, friendship and stuff. What I mostly like about them is the sick tone they have. It's different from western movies, the setting, the actors... maybe it took me so long to fully get into the genre, but I prefer to think of this film as just being totally superb. I liked Dead or alive, but didn't love it. I had to watch GRAVEYARD OF HONOR twice to get the plot (it's literally jumping forth and back in time), with both movies I wasn't really connected, the guy in GRAVEYARD OF HONOR is an allegorical figure, the personification of japan, it's system etc. that I don't really know. So it was like watching the complete, bloody downfall of a complete, bloody maniac that can only express emotions through rape and violence. I was cringing a lot about how the guy functions, destroying people who want to help him, this was the only emotional level to experience.

In this film, you have less coldbloodness and less depravity than with Dead Or Alive or Graveyard. But I followed this movie with every second. It's brilliantly shot, the pictures and pace is leading you throught this journey very smoothly. It also contains a lot of blood and violence and even some raping and sexual abusing, but it's ultimatly clear that Miike cares for the people in this film, they're not only fudder for sadistic jokes like with most Tarantino movies. It even has unfunnny funny moments: the cop is about to rape a prostitute for answers, and she says "But SM is more expensive!". She's the only female victim and she's surprisingly "funny". What isn't really funny but shown very graphic is the actions of a young call boy who obviously was trained to sexually satisfy adults. He does it with a sincere smile on his face but gets treated really bad. With such scenes I truly believe the director when he says "I just show the things the way they are." With children prostitutes it is that way, they - at worst - grow up like this. I had seen some on TV lately, 9 years old that talk like professional prostitutes, not knowing how sick they have become.

The movie is about this cop who is after Wang, a gay, paedophil yakuza boss. His favorite boy we see at the beginning, satisfying an old man, then walking throught the streets, easily cutting up a cop's wrists and arterials when crossing his way. This triggers the need to watch after this gang and catch the boy who did this. So the police catches the old man and a prostitute, they keep him for some time untill they must be released. The lawyer who is getting them out of the prison is the cop's brother, a naiv newcomer who just finished graduation. From then on, the whole case becomes more complicated, private and personal to the cop. Also, the brothers never were really close, it's family loyality that makes the cop wanna save the life of his brother who seems not to have an idea of what's he gotten himself into.

This film is really astonishing. The actors are total first rate. It's so realistic, when the two brothers meet up with their parents. There's family love between the brothers and a father that is about to die soon. The parents are so sweet, not knowing what's going on in their sons lifes, not realizing the two have become enemies by their professions. The cop's methods aren't nice, in fact he's a dirty, depraved cop, he rapes informants or uses rapists to get informations, he makes no difference between women and men when he gets violant. To foresee that his brothers career will lead him into a downward spiral (as later on, the yakuza decide to turn him into a heroin addict) he sees some sort of help he can offer. Only that the younger doesn't want it, so even when loyality helps them, there's still this fundamental conflict between them. It reminds a bit of BAD LEUTENAND where one can sense a way to do something good, after all the bad before that.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shinjuku Triad Society is fantastic 3 July 2005
By joe larkin - Published on
So what's it about? Well, things begin at a rather quick pace, kind of like a predecessor to Dead or Alive's infamously manic prologue. Dead bodies litter the streets of Shinjuku, remnants of a powerful yakuza clan. The Shinjuku police swarm around, investigating the crime. One artistic fine film that every one should see.
4.0 out of 5 stars Violent Crime Tale where there really are No Good Guys 29 Jun 2011
By Tommy Dooley - Published on
This is a film from `controversial' director Takashi Miike. He is known for his prolific output a sort of quantity over quality, but that is way too simplistic. He has a message and he wants us to get it - without any subtlety what so ever.

This film kicks off with a gangland massacre, some very grubby felatio, and badly dubbed fighting. The basic tale is that a Triad gang `the Dragons Nail', are trying to muscle in on the Yakuza territory and are not bothered about who they have to get out of their way.

Add to this the cop who is trying to stop them and his younger brother - a lawyer who is working for them, and you have quite a potential concoction of things going very bad indeed. They are involved in all sorts of crime, including gay prostitution, drugs, money laundering and human organ sales. This is no black and white, good versus bad as even the cops are very unlikeable. They use any means to get what they want too, thus blurring the lines and confusing as to who you should be caring for.

There are some great moments; we have a serial flasher, a cop that looks like Ronnie Corbett who specialises in torture and uninvited man on man action. A street tramp called `Lonely Jelly' and a cute lovable, but exploited rent boy, who has a penchant for knives and using them on cops.

The picture quality is lacking in places, and the sub titles are often crowded with the original ones not completely removed, but this is a rather good film and I did enjoy it. The action keeps you hooked and the thorough ruthless and nasty characters are somehow fascinating. If you are new to Miike this is a good place to start as any - recommended.
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