Jingi naki tatakai (Battles Without Honor and Humanity)(The Yakuza Papers)(War Without a Code) Reviews

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July 10, 2015
One of the key Yakuza films that sought to shatter the myth of chivalrous behaviour amongst gangsters that had heretofore been portrayed in film and to replace it with its opposite: betrayal, paranoia, greed, and, yes, a lack of honor and humanity. This was the first big hit for director Kinji Fukusaku (later famous in his old age for Battle Royale) and star Bunta Sugawara and it spawned four sequels. Not surprisingly, the film is extremely bloody and brutal, as we follow the Yamamori family's birth, rise, and eventual splintering. Nothing is glamourized: from the early days of the post-WWII black market to the later days of entrepreneurial business ventures jointly operated with politicians, central characters are just as likely to get rubbed out by a backstabbing surprise attack. Although, at first, I thought I might get lost trying to identify the myriad sub-bosses, eventually I was able to grasp the various players and the Shakespearian machinations of the plot (thanks also to the subtitled announcements of each character's death, accompanied by a fanfare of trumpets). Gritty, violent, not for all tastes, but a touchstone in this genre.
May 26, 2015
A powerful crime movie, with excellent direction and good cast.
April 10, 2008
The Godfather of Japanese cinema. Genius.
April 26, 2014
TOHO CINEMAS Nagoya Baycity, 2014/4/26
December 14, 2013
Sugawara's performance is a display of Japanese gangster bravura unlike any other.
September 17, 2013
Grim, wonderfully immersive stuff that draws you into the criminal world that prevailed in Japan shortly after WWII. Happy to finally have given it a day in court, now to find the rest of the films in the series!

October 18, 2012
With the cool style and classic tale of treachery, betrayal, and violence, Battles Without Honor and Humanity truly feels like an exciting yakuza film merged with a classic American gangster film, thus giving it the nickname of the "Japanese Godfather." Although, it doesn't quite reach the same sort of epic scale on any level, it's still an interesting and enjoyable film.
July 5, 2012
Narrative is way off and lacks character definition. You don't know who's fighting who. Such a loose film that lacks every basic aspects in film making.
May 10, 2012
interest yakuza story
April 3, 2012
Very confusing, yet engaging.
December 20, 2011
Considerada uno de los cl√°sicos del cine japon√ (C)s, The Yakuza Papers Vol. 1: Battles Without Honor and Humanity es exactamente eso. Una guerra de poder entre yakuzas donde el ganador es el que menos escr√ļpulos tiene. El estilo documental de la pel√≠cula es genial para mostrar la verdadera cara de estos individuos y no la versi√≥n romantizada que durante d√ (C)cadas se present√≥ en ese g√ (C)nero. La pelicula tiene demasiados personajes y la pel√≠cula solo se concentra en las traiciones y asesinatos de los mismos. Como consecuencia, lo unico que sabemos de los personajes es que yakuzas sin escrupulos, salvo por el protagonista quien es un poco m√°s honorable que los dem√°s y sirve como vinculo para mostrar a√Īos muy violentos en Jap√≥n. Aun asi, cuando acaba la pelicula, ya te sientes listo para ver la secuela.
Super Reviewer
½ December 4, 2011
Absolutely deserves the title of being the "Japanese Godfather". Whereas Coppola's masterpiece focuses almost completely on one family, Fukasaku's film touches upon many families while still remaining devoted to the Yamamouri Yakuza clan. Fun to watch, formulaic but not so predictable and still exciting. The characters are very memorable and deliver some great dialogue. Shozo Hironi and Tetsuya Sakai are enviably cool. Other performances are good and tough all-around, especially the coniving Yamamouri. Fukasaku's documentary-like and experimental cinematography makes this film more than an usual action flick for me. Very very interesting stuff presented in a very watchable film.
October 15, 2011
The first of this five part movie epic introduces the viewer to what will be a 30 year long struggle of gang warfare in Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima. These are violent movies, and director Kinji Fukasaku does not spare the viewer as to how, why and where these thugs were able to rise to power after Japan's defeat in WWII. We are witness to betrayals, deceit and the methods of how the yakuza become organized. Everything in the yakuza clans were modeled along business lines-and we witness the so-called yakuza myth being destroyed. These are vicious gangs who will go through anyone, and everyone to get what they feel belongs to them. As for loyalty, forget about it, there is none. Many of those who started out with the yakuza after the war were former soldiers. One of these is the movie's primary protagonist Shozo Hirono. Shozo Hirono is a former soldier who is initiated into the gang after an altercation with another yakuza. As Shozo rises through the ranks, we see his character going through the motions of honor and loyalty-even though his superiors are not entirely of the same mode.

If you like gritty gangster movies then you've come to the right place. The disjointed storyline might be a little disorientating to those who have never seen a Yakuza movie before, but director Fukasaku helps you out with a running total of who has died (using a similar method in Battle Royale). The movie was revolutionary because it was some of the first to depict the yakuza life as one without honor, as the title reveals. It also showed the emptiness, brutality, destruction and tragedy of the yakuza lifestyle. The message of the movie is very in-your-face, because at the time almost every movie glorified the gangster life and heroic bloodshed. This movie is not just for yakuza fans, but for fans of all Japanese cinema, as well as fans of cinema in general. Though the series may portray a great gangster tale, it's also a fantastic movie and the viewer need not be a fan of the genre.
½ November 14, 2010
An amazing Yakuza flick which is very effective and memorable, even 30 years later. While it speeds along at breakneck pace (making it hard for the foreign viewer to read all the subtitles so quickly) it tells the true stories of the yakuza wars in Hiroshima following world war 2. The style and music are enthralling (and more than likely influenced American mafia films like The Godfather Trilogy). A must see.
May 25, 2010
Watched - April 2006.
½ May 25, 2010
Billed as a landmark cinematic look at realistic crime figures, the film jumped around so quickly that it was difficult to keep straight which face belonged to which family, and certainly they began to take on a cardboard cut-out quality that left no feeling for whether they had lived or died.

Emoting tears and groveling bosses lend an air on inauthenticity which ran contrary to the billing, as it would be hard to credit anybody in any culture willing to die for a family whose leader was seen regularly to cry at first sign of troubles.

Still, there is enough for me to try the next volume of the five part film, to see if things improved as it progressed. This one fell short for me though.
½ May 25, 2010
[b]Les Yeux Sans Visage[/b]: the premise for this film is specially grotesque. It stars a freaky surgeon whose daughter Christiane is faceless; he keeps kidnapping young women in order to steal their faces and to transfer them to her daughter. The movie's got a pretty classic feeling, and it is actually thrilling, and surprisingle bloody at times. I'm not very fond of horror films, but this one doesn't feel like one at times; and it is specially original, not to mention very well directed by Franju; Maurice Jarre's slightly playful score is rather memorable, as well. A must.
[b]Black Cat, White Cat[/b]: this is my first experience with mr. Kusturica and I must said I'm delighted. First of all, I didn't expect this film to be so darned crazy. It's a bit messy at times, exaggerated at others, but overall quite pleasing (including a "happy end"). This movie is breathtakingly energetic and inventive. I won't deny its flaws, but it's a great deal of fun and sure keeps you smiling all the way through; the acting is addecuate as well (at times mad as the film itself). A very amusing portrait of the life at the balkans; I'll sure be checking more stuff by Kusturica.
[b]Perfect Blue: [/b]this is one brilliant movie which starts quite lightly yet gets very paranoidal and exciting near the end. I really didn't like the animation at first, but one can't deny it's well directed. The film presents an engrossing and unconventional plot concerning the fears of a pop star when she realizes she's being creepily stalked by someone. I thought this film was engaging but just not my kind of stuff; I admit some of the sequences are very accomplished, though (yet the conclusion was just too much). Kudos for the atmospheric soundtrack and the spot on voice acting.
[b]The Yakuza Papers[/b]: this, as you will have observed, is named [i]Battles Without Honor and Humanity[/i] in some areas. After watching the movie, I think I'm a good position to confirm the fact that Fukasaku is the best yakuza film director ever. That doesn't mean his are the best overall films, yet he manages to portray the yakuza in an authentic and breathtaking way; he's also the king of brawls and shootouts. This film is very confusing, considering its extense cast of characters, and a bit dizzy and uneven (that damn camera is just too fast at times). But it's exciting and expertedly crafted, a must for yakuza fans. Oh, and Bunta Sugawara rocks.
March 15, 2010
The storyline kept me going through this glorious story of gangster politics and cheesy violence, though I can't shake the feeling that a lot was lost in translation, verbally and culturally.
September 7, 2009
Though it is a little confusing as to its main characters, it doesn't force the viewer to go off meander away and instead builts up great atmosphere and emotion by its characters action, which is much more important. This film shares a lot in common with the director's most recent effort before he died and I don't mean the part two.
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