Violent Cop (Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki) (1989)
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In this police thriller, Inspector Azuma is an iconoclastic, anti-hero cop; his methods are brutal, yet effective. His current investigation places him on the trail of a drug-smuggling ring. Azuma is disturbed when he uncovers a mob connection to Iwaki, one of his few friends on the police force.
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Critic Reviews for Violent Cop (Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki)
Audience Reviews for Violent Cop (Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki)
Director Takeshi Kitano's unflinching début is a poignant practice in violence and nihilism. The plot (though initially slightly slow) follows the titular 'Violent Cop' Azuma as he commits elevating acts of brutality in a fashion similar to that of 'Dirty Harry' in order to solve a case. Where Azuma distinguishes himself from Harry Callaghan, however, is in his ethos, and the deep existentialism running throughout 'Violent Cop' allows it to become a more thought provoking character study then 'Dirty Harry' ever was.
In a directorial sense 'VC' is poetically beautiful and minimalistic, with shots lingering on both small moments of beauty and extreme violence, reminding viewers that both inhabit the same existence and that (for our protagonist) neither one is more shocking then the other. Azuma's acts of violence are often linked to those of the film's primary antagonist and assassin Kiyohiro, with the two even sharing dialogue throughout.
In a sense 'Violent Cop' presents itself as a study of oppressed, traditional masculinity in 20th century Japan, and the untameable nature of those men who haven't given in to the confinement of modern existence, Azuma's regard to the rules and those around him (his disabled sister especially) act as testament to this, and the outstanding final confrontation is a natural amalgamation of the brooding violence that preceded it. Outstanding.
A tough cop uncovers a drug ring with ties to a corrupt friend in the department leading to a bloody showdown with the gang's hired killer. "Beat" Tikeshi Kitano's directorial debut is an uncompromising crime thriller featuring a protagonist that makes Dirty Harry look like Dudley Doright which doesn't sound particularly original, but what marks Violent Cop out from the herd is its treatment of the character. Usually, "loose cannon" cops come in two categories; the misunderstood hero who is just trying to get the job done, or the corrupt bad guy looking for redemption. Azuma is neither; he's just an arrogant bastard who does whatever he pleases with zero regard for authority, the rights of his suspects or the consequences of his actions. This makes the film oddly refreshing as the story may be rather familiar in its ideas, its bleak and nihilistic attitude (particularly during the brilliantly uncompromising finale) is strangely unique. Takeshi hasn't quite perfected his art yet, the main flaws being that the deliberate pacing flags from time to time and the soundtrack which is so bizarrely inappropriate at times it's almost surreal. On the whole it's the confident first step of a brilliant career of one the the greatest auteurs in modern Japanese cinema and well worth seeing for fans of the genre.More
Takeshi Kitano saved this film at the last minute after the original director did a runner. Not one of his best films by any stretch, the beginning of a brilliant film career!More
Violent Cop. So, this was originally supposed to be filmed by Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale, Graveyard of Honor, Yakuza Papers) who dropped out, thankfully. Takeshi Kitano, who was only starring in the film, took over and japanese films haven't been the same for me since.
Unlike other yakuza films, Kitano's violence is quick and cold-blooded. Different from American vigilante cops such as Dirty Harry, who care so much for their victims, Kitano's character Azuma doesn't seem to care about anything but personal revenge.
If you're a fan of Beat Takeshi (and you should be) don't pass up this directorial debut.
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