Film Review: Yokohama Underworld: The Machine Gun Dragon (1976) by Akihisa Okamoto

Very best recognized for his productive 5-aspect “Battle With no Honor and Humanity” or “The Yakuza Papers” film series from 1973 to 1974 directed by Kinji Fukasaku in which he played the true-life gangster Shozo Hirono, Bunta Sugawara is undoubtedly no stranger when it comes to yakuza films. Nonetheless, inspired by Raoul Walsh’s gangster film “White Heat” (1949) starring James Cagney, Sugawara and Toei Firm came up with their quite personal machine-gun blazing Japanese version in 1976.

Through 1 rainy evening, 3 gangsters wearing monster masks steal a bag of drugs worth 1 and a half million yen from some members of the Mutsumi Clan just after gunning them down. Though producing their getaway, gang leader Ryuta Yabuki (Bunta Sugarwara) kills 1 of his masked partners since of his injury. Interestingly, the remaining member, a female driver, turns out to be his personal mother, Masa (Aiko Mimasu). Right after hiding their loot in a sewer, the pair goes property and shares a nicely-earned hot bath collectively.

Ahead of lengthy and just after tracing the machine gun Yabuki employed in the heist, an additional yakuza gang drops in and demands they hand more than half of the drugs. The subsequent day he shows up at their meeting location and viciously guns them down but a corrupted cop on the case quickly finds out he is accountable for the massacre. Meanwhile, the New York mafia associates of the Mutsumi Clan also dispatched two nearby killers more than to additional enable them in the recovery of their lost drugs. Now the hunt is definitely on for this ill-fated son and mother group of thugs, whilst the resourceful Yabuki has arranged to leave Japan by boat.

The bizarre partnership amongst a man and his manipulative mother is what drives and provides the story a refreshing edge right here. Even although he is a challenging gangster and a cold-blooded killer himself, Yabuki behaves like a child when it comes to his mum and he even ditches his girlfriends in order to reside with her. In that style, Bunta Sugawara puts on a excellent efficiency as the tortured soul and violent gangster who can be vicious 1 minute but gentle and caring the subsequent. Nonetheless, the prison scene in which he freaks out and wails like an infant upon acquiring some poor news is funny and more than the leading. Equally convincing and memorable as his mother who provides him the complicated, Aiko Mimasu lends a excellent secondary hand.

Elsewhere, Sonny Chiba turns up quite briefly but unforgettable as Nezu, a passport forger for the underworld and a prolific killer. Yutaka Nakajima plays Yabuki’s girlfriend, a tragic but stunning lady devoid of any back story, who regrettably comes to a sad finish.

Although lacking in technical refinements in common, visually the complete production appears vibrant and fashionable, it even has a comic book appear to it due to the abundant use of key colors. Intense interest goes to the appears of the gangsters’ outfits which are colorfully upbeat, specially the deep red suit worn by Sugawara’s character that genuinely stands out. In addition, Okamoto favors the use of slow motion to additional accentuate tension and drama. Although flamboyant in style, his gangland portrayed right here is a cruel, violent planet which is complete of psychotic killers specially in the second half when it turns significantly darker, colder and bloody. Nonetheless, the electric guitar soundtrack getting employed has a good funky really feel about it and goes nicely with the shootouts, sex and nudity.

On the complete, this production plays extra like a straight gangster action film rather than a yakuza film which provides emphasis to code and honor. Nonetheless it has a particular fashionable dog consume dog form of brutal gangster method which moves at a steady pace and ends in a gun blazing and entertaining way. Apart from, lead actor Sugawara also sings the despaired sounding finish theme song as the credits function which strangely fits the mood nicely.



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