If someone makes a list of manly movies, without any doubt this film deserves to be at the top of that list, because there’s no a bigger display of manhood that putting together onto the screen two badasses as Robert Mitchum and Ken Takakura… in fact, the whole movie is an exercise of badassery wrapped into the crafty and sophisticated excellent job of Sydney Pollack who managed to make a really arty Yakuza movie, filled with gory moments of glorious violence and a good script that really captures the essence of Yakuza cinema, without making the mistake of most Hollywood movies when they go east, misrepresenting asian cultures, respecting all the essence of Japanese culture at its fullest. Mitchum plays a retired detective who returns to Japan after being several decades away to rescue his friend’s daughter from the Yakuza. Once there, he will meet again with a past he left behind and unpaid debts that he needs to settle. Mitchum was always a convincing and very charismatic actor in everything he did but in this movie he was completely overshadowed by a terrific Ken Takakura who stole all the show with his screen presence and astonishing badassery. Unfortunately he never became an international movie star because the movie flopped in the box office, which was a real pity, because the movie deserved to become a hit, but time always sort everything out and the passage of time has gained it a cult following that really deserves
Ken Takakura and Chieko Baisho screen romances were something special that went beyond any definition that words could express. They were restrained and quiet on the surface but passionate and intense underneath.
This classic from Japanese cinema directed by Yasuo Furuhata (Demon Yasha) hides on its plot a story of vengeance that is caught into a love story. 2 hours and 15 minutes of feelings put into images and two terrific actors that put on display their incredible talent in an acting masterclass, to tell a story about regrets, in which Ken Takakura plays a detective training to be a sharpshooter at Olympics who goes out of his way to crack the case of a serial killer specialising in policeman murders when his coach is gunned down by a fleeing criminal.
Ken Takakura leads the story, being restrained and serious but filling every scene with his smashing screen presence, showing us why he was the toughest man on the history of Japan, playing a character who suffers multiple tragedies who begins an affair with a middle-aged woman as escape from the pain, but just reliving his past mistakes.
Chieko Baisho appears here prettier than ever, portraying a lively and memorable character that makes us forget her unforgettable portrayal of Sakura in the Tora san series, making the audience fall into her dangerous clutches of love, at the same time that Takakura´s character does it.
The films that Yasuo Furuhata and Ken Takakura made together were exquisite and technically beautiful, telling heartbreaking and touching stories wrapped into a warming melancholic tone that made them unique and special, becoming instant classics that moviegoers around the world really need to discover. So, dear movie fans around the world, if in your cinematic journeys there´s a chance to stop in this STATION, don´t hesitate in going down to the platform and enjoy one of the most beautiful films that you could ever watch.
Ken Takakura plays Shuji, a retired Yakuza gangster who lives in a small coastal town trying to put his dark past behind him, but when a gorgeous young woman (Yuko Tanaka) also from Osaka comes to town to settle down, the world of our cold and ruthless Yakuza seems to stop. She becomes a forbidden passion for him, and we all know that passion blinds reason and is guided by heart. So our cold protagonist lets his weakness for the beautiful Yuko Tanaka, (gorgeous as always), guide him back to that past he left in Osaka, for just one and only reason, LOVE. Because when real tough guys as ken Takakura falls madly in love, all the passion they keep inside their soul, explodes in glorious violence splashing the screen for the enjoyment of movie junkies and moviegoers all around the world.
A restrained story full of silences, complicit glances, and silent passion, that follows two characters in search of a redemption that constantly eludes them, in a ruthless world leaded by treachery and violence, in which they may find hope in each other to survive.
Exquisitely shot with a beautiful cinematography and memorable images of some of Osaka’s iconic sites like Dotonbori street, which has been a part of so many other unforgettable movies, this Demon/Yasha from 1985, directed by Yasuo Furuhata, is an essential classic from Japanese cinema, that belongs to a wonderful collection of movie romances in which Ken Takakura, gave really useful masterclasses on how a real man should love
If you love cinema, you can´t miss it