(director/writer: Masato Harada; screenwriter: based on a novel by Akio Fukamachi; cinematographer: Takahide Shibanushi; cast: Junichi Okada (Shogo Kanetaka/Goro Idezutsi), Kentaro Sakaguchi (Hideki Murooka), Mayu Matsuoka (Emiri Kisa), Miyavi (Yoshitaka Toake), Shinobu Otake (Noriko), Yoshi Sakô (Masaru Anai), Kazuki Kitamura (Tsutomu Toki); Runtime: 137; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mariko Seto, Hiroyasu Nagata, Kazuto Amano, Daiki Koide, Toshiya Nomura; Netflix; 2022-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)

“A boring, over complicated with too many characters, too violent and too talky of an action pic.”

Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzA boring, over complicated with too many characters, too violent and too talky of an action pic based on a 2017 novel by Akio Fukamachi. It’s directed and scripted by veteran Japanese  filmmaker Masato Harada (“Inugami”/”Chronicle of My Mother”), and stars Junichi Okada–Japan’s aging but still top action star. I should also add this was too bloody for me.

As a result of his loved one’s murder, police officer Goro Idezutsi (Junichi Okada) is in a state of shock.  The cop can only think about getting revenge, and thereby quits the force and spends time training in the martial arts and kills at random various yakuza members.

The head of the police department’s undercover unit (Yoshi Sakô) offers the now seedy looking killing machine ex-cop a chance to get even with the yakuza by infiltrating the gang to take them down. He agrees and takes the name Shogo ‘Tak’ Kanetaka. He joins the powerful Toshokai gang, led by Kazuki Kitamura (Tsutomu Toki), and vows to take him and his yakuza gang down. To get in the gang, he is tested often for his loyalty. After Tak picks a fight with the boyish psychopath killer yakuza enforcer, Hideki Murooka (Kentaro Sakaguchi), nicknamed Mad Dog, they bond and work together as enforcers. Murooka is the son of a death-row convict, who can’t control his anger.

The title is derived from the “Hell Dogs,” which is the yakuza gang’s nickname for their gang security unit.

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REVIEWED ON 12/25/2022  GRADE: C