Hiroshima Death Match


1h 40m 1973

Film Details

Also Known As
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, Yakuza Papers, Vol. 2: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, The
Release Date
1973

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Synopsis

Film Details

Also Known As
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, Yakuza Papers, Vol. 2: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, The
Release Date
1973

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Articles

Battles Without Honor and Humanity


Following his first modern yakuza film, Street Mobster, director Kinji Fukasaku embarked on a far more ambitious project: The Yakuza Papers (Jingi naki tatakai), a five-film analysis of Hiroshima gangster wars spanning twenty-five years. Covering a twelve-year period immediately following World War II, Battles without Honor and Humanity initiates the bloody saga with a typically chaotic, nightmarish opening in which the police break up gangs of street criminals, black market peddlers, and predatory GIs whose various crimes include theft, prostitution and rape. While dejected ex-soldiers sit in bars listening to wartime melodies ("Cut that old-fashioned crap!" screams one matron), the shape of things to come arrives when one victim of a yakuza sword attack runs screaming and bloody into a bar.

Here we meet our protagonist, Hirono Shozo (Tattooed Hit Man's Bunta Sugawara), who avenges the mob attack and, thanks to doing prison time, earns the attention of boss Yamamori (Nobuo Kaneko), a rival to the clan of Shozo's brother, the Dois, whose greatest recruiting tool is captain Hiroshi Wakasugi (Tatsuo Umemiya). Soon the definitions of family become blurred as genetic brothers and vowed brothers alike descend into brutal, cutthroat behavior to maintain dominance over the postwar community, where ascending capitalism threatens to wipe out any vestiges of a feudal code.

In typical Fukasaku fashion, this striking film combines a number of cinematic techniques including handheld camerawork, wild juxtapositions of color and monochrome photography, and rapid-fire editing, all preserved in perfectly composed scope images. Always one to deglamorize the yakuza lifestyle as much as possible, Fukasaku emphasizes the men's bestial behavior (note the scavenging dog imagery) and presents a hierarchy of crime families inspired both by the original source material, the autobiographic memoirs of jailed gangster Mino Kozo, and the success of The Godfather, which this series resembles more and more as it presses along. The story here is fairly straightforward and easy to follow, a trait less easily applied to successive films which broadened the scope of characters considerably. (Quite helpfully, Home Vision includes a fold-out map with the series laying out each character with his respective family and relationship to other members.)

Along the way viewers will be fascinated to see Fukasaku's emerging style as a crime filmmaker, quite a contrast from the formal opulence of his '60s melodramas like Black Lizard. As rambunctious as this film is, the energy level just got more frenetic with each film until Fukasaku moved on to new waters with the utterly fever-pitched and absurd Graveyard of Honor, arguably the last word in street thug studies.

Home Vision performs its typically stellar job on the audio-visual front here, with a glossy anamorphic transfer that's among the best of their Japanese cinema line. The optional English subtitles (carried over from theatrical prints and the earlier U.K. disc) are a bit awkward but get the job done, considering the vast amount of information they have to impart in a relatively compressed running time.

Extras include the trailer for this film as well as its sequels (Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, Proxy War, Police Tactics, and Final Episode) as well as two other Fukasaku titles from Home Vision, Street Mobster and Graveyard of Honor, and a director filmography.

For more information about Battles Without Honor and Humanity, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Battles Without Honor and Humanity, go to TCM Shopping.

by Nathaniel Thompson
Battles Without Honor And Humanity

Battles Without Honor and Humanity

Following his first modern yakuza film, Street Mobster, director Kinji Fukasaku embarked on a far more ambitious project: The Yakuza Papers (Jingi naki tatakai), a five-film analysis of Hiroshima gangster wars spanning twenty-five years. Covering a twelve-year period immediately following World War II, Battles without Honor and Humanity initiates the bloody saga with a typically chaotic, nightmarish opening in which the police break up gangs of street criminals, black market peddlers, and predatory GIs whose various crimes include theft, prostitution and rape. While dejected ex-soldiers sit in bars listening to wartime melodies ("Cut that old-fashioned crap!" screams one matron), the shape of things to come arrives when one victim of a yakuza sword attack runs screaming and bloody into a bar. Here we meet our protagonist, Hirono Shozo (Tattooed Hit Man's Bunta Sugawara), who avenges the mob attack and, thanks to doing prison time, earns the attention of boss Yamamori (Nobuo Kaneko), a rival to the clan of Shozo's brother, the Dois, whose greatest recruiting tool is captain Hiroshi Wakasugi (Tatsuo Umemiya). Soon the definitions of family become blurred as genetic brothers and vowed brothers alike descend into brutal, cutthroat behavior to maintain dominance over the postwar community, where ascending capitalism threatens to wipe out any vestiges of a feudal code. In typical Fukasaku fashion, this striking film combines a number of cinematic techniques including handheld camerawork, wild juxtapositions of color and monochrome photography, and rapid-fire editing, all preserved in perfectly composed scope images. Always one to deglamorize the yakuza lifestyle as much as possible, Fukasaku emphasizes the men's bestial behavior (note the scavenging dog imagery) and presents a hierarchy of crime families inspired both by the original source material, the autobiographic memoirs of jailed gangster Mino Kozo, and the success of The Godfather, which this series resembles more and more as it presses along. The story here is fairly straightforward and easy to follow, a trait less easily applied to successive films which broadened the scope of characters considerably. (Quite helpfully, Home Vision includes a fold-out map with the series laying out each character with his respective family and relationship to other members.) Along the way viewers will be fascinated to see Fukasaku's emerging style as a crime filmmaker, quite a contrast from the formal opulence of his '60s melodramas like Black Lizard. As rambunctious as this film is, the energy level just got more frenetic with each film until Fukasaku moved on to new waters with the utterly fever-pitched and absurd Graveyard of Honor, arguably the last word in street thug studies. Home Vision performs its typically stellar job on the audio-visual front here, with a glossy anamorphic transfer that's among the best of their Japanese cinema line. The optional English subtitles (carried over from theatrical prints and the earlier U.K. disc) are a bit awkward but get the job done, considering the vast amount of information they have to impart in a relatively compressed running time. Extras include the trailer for this film as well as its sequels (Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, Proxy War, Police Tactics, and Final Episode) as well as two other Fukasaku titles from Home Vision, Street Mobster and Graveyard of Honor, and a director filmography. For more information about Battles Without Honor and Humanity, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Battles Without Honor and Humanity, go to TCM Shopping. by Nathaniel Thompson

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