There are two main similarities between Tokyo Fist (1995) and Bullet Ballet (1998) the first is that director Shinya Tsukamoto takes the lead role and secondly the female lead is another very strong character. This time she is a young women who joins a gang of young street punks to serves her own needs.
|Tokyo's Punk Street Gang.|
Filmed in atmospheric black and white and shot in Tokyo, TV commercial film director Aida (Tsukamoto) comes home from the office to find that his girlfriend has committed suicide shooting herself with an untraceable firearm that she’s been asked to look after by a gangster friend. Its not Aida’s day when later a gang of punks beats him up. As a result of these two incidents he becomes obsessed with death and guns. Deciding to extract vengeance he throws himself into a turf war with a ruthless gang of young delinquents. His attempts to purchase a firearm go disastrously wrong when he ends up paying 2.5 million yen for what turns out to be a water pistol filled with sand. So he makes his own gun along with the bullets and sets out to shot the punks in a nightclub, it’s there he first see’s the beautiful young punk girl Chisato (Kirina Mano). Things get worse for Aida who gets involved with a drug fuelled gang battle in the crowded Tokyo streets. But is he beginning to fall in love with the young futuristically dressed punk goddess who seems to have a death wish?
Nothing is ever explained and with minimal dialogue leaves its audience to decide a meaning or are we back to looking at the link between city and men concept? The director admitted in an interview that the film was based on the directors feelings at becoming 38 years old, what’s he going to feel like when he turns 60 in 2020! At the time that the film was made there was the emergence of ‘teamers’ in Japan, these are usually young men who live normal respectable working lives during daytime but who act out violent delinquency at night joining street gangs, the character of Goto is a good example. It was this that was the trigger for Shinya to put pen to paper and camera to eye and make a film based around their exploits. He wanted to depict a battle between young teamers and an older generation. The director also admits being influenced by Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and the American film director Larry Clark.
Great atmospheric shots of the city from Shinya and like Snake in June (2002) make great use of rain drenched desolate urban landscapes of a non neon lit Tokyo. Heavy violence carrying a certain menace compounded by the demanding metal soundtrack and Shinya’s brilliant direction again dares the voyeur in us all to take our eyes from the screen. A movie that involves guns, violence and destruction all brilliantly intercut with scenes of men at war. Both this movie and Tokyo Fist have a new digital restoration released on Blu- ray, so now’s the best time to sample these examples of Japanese cinema at its best.
|Revenge Taxi Driver style.|