(director: Takashi Nomura; screenwriters: Nobuo Yamada/Hideichi Nagahara/from the novel by Shinji Fujiwara; cinematographer: Shigeyoshi Mine; editor: Akira Suzuki; music: Harumi Ibe; cast: Jô Shishido(Shûji Kamimura), Jerry Fugio (Shun Shiozaki), Chitose Kobayashi (Mina), Ryôtarô Sugi(Successor to Shimazu), Ryôtarô Sugi(Shimazu), Shôki Fukae(Funaki), Asao Uchida(Tsugawa), Eimel Esumi (Senzaki), Kanjûrô Arashi (Shimazu), Zenji Yamada (Barge Captain), Zekô Nakamura (hotel proprietor); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Takeo Yanagawa; Nikkatsu/Criterion Collection; 1967-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles-B/W)

It follows the American film noir formula to a tee.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A hard-boiled Japanese noir thriller. It follows the American film noir formula to a tee. Director Takashi Nomura (“The Strongest Karate”/”Moeru kumo“) keeps it tense throughout and well-crafted. Writers Nobuo Yamada and Hideichi Nagahara adeptly adapt it from the novel by Shinji Fujiwara. World-weary survivalist hitman Kamimura (Jô Shishido) and his trusted younger partner Shun (Jerry Fujio) assassinate crime boss Shimazu (Kanjûrô Arashi) because of his greed. The rival crime boss of the Otawara clan arranged for the hit. After the hitmen are paid at a bank, they can’t leave town because the Shimazu gang has the airport and roads watched. The two end up at their client’s underworld truckstop safehouse in a port just outside of Yokohama and await further instructions from the Otawara clan. Meanwhile the head of the Otawara’s, Tsugawa (Asao Uchida), merges with the new head of the Shimazu, the dead man’s son (Ryôtarô Sugi). He asks Tsugawa to get the two rats who gunned down his father, and is obliged. The hotel maid Mina (Chitose Kobayashi) has her reason for warning the hitmen they are in danger, and arranges with a barge captain (Zenji Yamada) to escape with them to a foreign port. But the new merger team force Kamimura into a shootout at a landfill before he can escape. Against all odds the stoic Kamimura comes up with a way to handle the impossible situation. The shootout reminds one of a spaghetti western climax.

REVIEWED ON 5/24/2018 GRADE: B  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/