Back Add a Comment Share:
Facebook Button
Feature
Arrow Synopsis:
Genre icon Jô Shishido stars in this tense and violent yakuza yarn from genre stalwart and Seijun Suzuki s former assistant, Yasuharu Hasebe (Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701 s Grudge Song).

Shishido stars as Kuroda, a mob hitman who turns on his employers after being forced to execute his lover. Joining forces with his similarly wronged brothers, hot-headed Eiji (Tatsuya Fuji, In the Realm of the Senses) and aspiring boxer Saburô (Jirô Okazaki, Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter), the trio escalate their mob retaliation to all-out turf war where no one will stop until one faction emerges victorious.

Strikingly violent for the period and gorgeously photographed in monochrome like genre siblings Branded to Kill and A Colt is My Passport (Shishido s other films from 1967), Massacre Gun is a bold iteration on the genre featuring some stunning compositions and the assured direction of Hasebe.


Video


This black and white Noir inspired image is a little soft in places and there’s a textured look to it without it being awash with grain but generally speaking this is, at its best a lush looking image with nice edges, deep blacks and a beautifully clean look.

Of course there’s the odd fuzzy edge where the black levels aren't quite where the rest of the film reaches and when this is mixed with the softness, the quality takes a bit of a dip but these instances are minimal and Massacre Gun manages multi-levels of grey in a broody dark thriller full of character. Shadows and darkened streets look fantastic and are usually the best this late sixties (1967) film looks. The street lights give everything a stylish glow and a dark broody feeling and even interior room lights cast shadows that are fully celebrated, meaning this entire affair never fails to look classy because of it.

Audio


Dialogue is minimal but it's crisp and clear throughout. The cool Jazz sixties score is the main element and this is where the track excels. The music is wonderfully clear and strong despite the track's mono limitations the music choice's effortless level of cool is felt throughout.

Whether a jazz number or a funky fun filled sixties pop tune the music drives the film from scene to scene and is relied upon to generate a mood at every turn. There's very few instances where this is anything less than spot on and these are fluctuations feel more inherent and unavoidable than a track issue. This is an otherwise great mono presentation.

Extras


The 'Interview with Jo Shishido' (17:38 HD) was filmed in 2015. The new interview with the 80 year old star is a delight from the get go. Shishido is fun and full of great stories regarding his countries film history, his own career and of course Massacre Gun.

The 'Interview With Tony Rayns' (36:26 HD) has the film historian and critic talking of the film company Nikkatsu’s history and provides a bit of insight into a lesser known portion in film history.

Last up is the trailer and a Promotional Gallery.

Overall


A Japanese crime classic (so I'm told anyway, sorry this is not my area of expertise), Massacre Gun (how awesome is that title?) is a slow burner for sure but slowly catches up with you in terms of just how cool it all is and how this Noir inspired gangster film has remained timeless since it was made in the 60s.

 Massacre Gun
 Massacre Gun
 Massacre Gun
 Massacre Gun
 Massacre Gun
 Massacre Gun


Links: