Yakuza Deka (1970): Japan – directed by Yukio Noda
Not rated by the MPAA – contains violence and mischief and general craziness
This movie is pure awesome. Sonny Chiba is pure awesome. Everything that happens in the movie happens exactly right to ensure that the entire film is pure awesome.
It’s a Yakuza movie, in a way, but it is actually mostly an action movie. It starts out as more of a buddy action film, but that aspect slowly disappears as the film progresses. We start in a casino as the cops are frisking a guy for having a concealed weapon. He has, however, hidden it in Sonny Chiba’s pants, and Sonny plays along. Soon they are both running from the cops, beating them up, and trying to escape. As they sit in jail together, however, we learn that Chiba is a real cop.
Then, suddenly, he quits the police force and joins the Yakuza. He teams up with the Yakuza as they battle a rival gang and attempt an international drug deal. But things are not quite as they seem.
But who cares? This movie is awesome. There is a ton of action, hand-to-hand fights, shootouts, car chases, blood splattering, but not in ridiculous amounts. Chiba is the epitome of cool here, even cooler than in The Street Fighter when he messed up the guy’s crotchal region. I almost wondered if John Woo saw this film, and the dozens of others like it, and adapted the style for his own Hong Kong actioners. Here we see slow motion jumping around and shooting stuff and ridiculously cool killers who use a variety of weapons, all of which are exactly what Woo is best known for.
There’s the femme fatale that falls for the hero. There’s a goofy police guy, and a cross-dressing prostitute who is peddling sex toys on the street. And all of this in 1970. I’m amazed. Plus, the whole bloody thing is only 84 minutes long! It’s fantastic! And, like I mentioned above, everything happens exactly right. It doesn’t go astray and get mushy, the right people die, and it remains cool but a bit ridiculous. Actually, a lot ridiculous, but that’s what makes it so great.
In any case, it would appear that you don’t need me to tell you again how heartily I recommend the film. The only problem is that it appears to be rather hard to find, so good luck. If you ever get a chance to pick it up or watch it, do so as fast as possible.