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Fireworks (Hana-bi) (1997)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
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Movie Info

Actor and auteur Takeshi Kitano (who in Japan also uses the stage name "Beat" Takeshi, primarily for his work as a television comedian) wrote, directed, edited, and starred in this unusual crime drama. Nishi (Takeshi Kitano) is a policeman whose emotions seem to run only on two extreme paths -- either quiet contentment or brutal rage. Nishi's life is falling apart around him; his daughter was murdered, his wife, Miyuki (Kayoko Kishimoto), is dying of leukemia, his partner, Horibe (Ren Osugi),


Drama, Romance, Art House & International

Jul 11, 2000

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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (1) | DVD (5)

Takeshi Kitano, who made it, must be very serene or very angry; only extreme states allow such a narrow focus.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Compared to [Takeshi] Kitano, Bruce Willis is a wimp, Harrison Ford is a creep, and Mel Gibson is a joke.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul | Comments (2)

Kitano uses his own face as a blank slate with which to sketch a complicated human being.

July 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Kitano makes static, understated movies about existences wasted, and rediscovering the joy of being, for a brief time, alive.... Violence comes in sudden bursts, as a shocking interruption.

October 23, 2003 Full Review Source:

A really good example of character development by actions, without the benefit of dialog or mannerisms.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Moody drama from Takeshi Kitano.

September 7, 2001 Full Review Source: Wired

Simultaneously coolly stylized and surprisingly emotionally persuasive.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

An exceptional piece of filmmaking, a drama that blurs the line between the ultra-violent cop movie genre and weepy but moving melodrama, and does it very convincingly.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Richly satisfying to the emotions and the senses.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

A fascinating film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

This highly original film is at times a masterpiece and at other times it seems like a grade B-movie.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Fireworks (Hana-bi)

Winner of the 1996 Venice Film Festival 'Golden Lion' award, Hana-Bi (roughly translated as 'Fireworks' or 'Fire-flower') is Takeshi "Beat" Kitano's sixth directorial outing and a powerful tale of love, loss and anger. The plot is, as expected in a Kitano film, minimal, following police officer Nishi (played by Kitano himself), an angry and violent cop whose slowly dying wife's medication is being funded for by Yakuza loan sharks. Nishi himself is very much what we've come to expect from Kitano, his stoic expression and silent nature draw a likeness to his roles in earlier films like 'Violent Cop' and 'Sonatine' and his extreme outbursts of violence seem to be the norm now.

Where 'Hana-Bi' really establishes its brilliance however is with Hirobe, a police officer who was shot in the line of duty and spends his wheelchair bound days painting. A lot of beautiful artwork is featured throughout the film and all of it is attributed to Kitano himself, revealing a side of the auteur never before seen on film and giving the film the same (if a little weaker) personal feeling found in 'Sonatine'.

It's very hard to write about Hana-bi without feeling like I'm repeating what I've said one million times before in my various other Kitano reviews, and in some ways this sums up perfectly what the film is to me, yes it's poignant, brilliant and a deserved recipient of The Golden Lion, but despite all this it just feels a little safe.
August 8, 2013
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

An ex cop tries to spend time with his dying wife during her final days, but a Yakuza loan shark refuses to leave him in peace. A typically understated marriage of violence and poetry from Beat Takeshi, Hana-Bi examines loss and mortality in a deeply personal way. It shares many of the themes of Sonatine, but is not as brutally nihilistic; there is much warmth in the often wordless scenes with his wife which have far more humanity than the contrived schmaltz we are used to from most mainstream film making. Takeshi's laconic persona is taken to the extreme in this film as he silently deals with the loss of his child, his wife's illness and his guilt over his suicidal ex-partner's crippling injury, although he still manages to find humour with the use of some oddball supporting characters. In other words another typically brilliant and artful Beat Takeshi film.
October 18, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

This movie is from a list of movies played at the 1997 Toronto International Movie Festival.Its written by Takeshi Kitano and is 103 Minutes long. Its about a police officer in Asia, whose wife is dying of Leukemia and one of his fellow partners gets shot on the job, along with other police officers. What we have is a shell of a man just trying to get through the pain and depression. He only wants what?s best for is wife, and robs a bank to take his wife on her last trip. He owes loan sharks, the police are looking for him. So we have a story that is shown from many angles. This is also listed with New Yorker Films, so you know its got to be good. If your a Rocky Fan, or a Segal Film, then you will not grasp the inner thoughts of this movie, lacks action, but it is a story that is complete with itself, 4 Stars.
December 28, 2009
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Hana-bi is Kitano's most personal work to date. It seems like all his feelings, that he'd bottled up for so long, were suddenly triggered and then released after his near death motorcycle accident. In his autobiography it says that after he committed suicide (Beat, his alter-ego) he felt real but at the same time uncertain of his future, mainly due to a lack of confidence. It must be hard, being the most famous man in Japan, producing No 1 TV shows, Comedy, best selling books etc to huge success, but when he directs films (his real passion) he is disregarded and misunderstood. His films have had a much larger impact in the western world, why? I'm not sure but this certainly isn't a typical Asian film, its not a typical western film, its truly original and a real raw insight into the man and his emotions. Hard hitting but truly beautiful, Hana-bi is something special, a metamorphosis of a genius.
September 4, 2009

Super Reviewer

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