Sunday, June 7, 2015
Massacre Gun is the second film directed by Asian film legend Yasuharu Hasebe. Shortly after this movie's release, Hasebe went onto be one of the biggest forces in the Pinky Violence movement of the 70's. Here we see a far more refined style compared to his defining films throughout the coming decade.
Massacre Gun tells the story of Kuroda and his brothers. One day his Yakuza boss gives him the order to kill his significant other. Kuroda had planned an escape route for her, but out of fear of what would happen after his betrayal, he decides to follow through with the murder. After the deed is done, he returns to his brothers and they are very angered by his decision. The turmoil within the family quickly comes to a halt when Kuroda decides to leave his old crime family behind and start up his own operation. Soon, an all out war is waged between the two factions, and the only way it will end is with bloodshed. Kuroda not only has to deal with constant paranoia, but also the internal struggle of knowing his best friend Shirasaka is still fighting for the opposing side. The tension quickly rises, and hundreds of bullets begin to fly, but only one side can stand victorious.
Massacre Gun is an intriguing Yakuza film in the fact that it seems very Americanized. A smooth jazzy soundtrack is peppered in throughout the entire movie that complements it surprisingly well. The story builds at a slow yet precise pace, and while it can at times be a bit of an endurance test, it never becomes too taxing due to the high level of style on display. You truly feel for these characters and the hardships that they have brought upon themselves. Strong character development and performance is what really makes this film work on the level it does. Without the insight on Kuroda and Shirasaka's struggle to succumb to the violence that is inevitable, the final scene would not have hit anywhere near the level it does. This buildup is what anchors the movie down, but when the finale comes to life it is more than a fair trade.
Overall, Massacre Gun is a very entertaining Yakuza flick. Although the film is not without its flaws, it features enough fight scenes and fiery gun battles to keep most action fans at the edge of their seat. It does all this while still managing to maintain its cool as ice atmosphere. Having not seen many 60's Asian crime movies prior to this I was pleasantly surprised by how far from dated Massacre Gun was. If you're into Yakuza flicks this one is definitely worth a shot.