Gonin (The Five) (1995)
Get Carter meets Heidegger in this slick, two-fisted gangster epic brimming with furtive sex and shocking violence. The film centers on five poster-boys of Japan's post-bubble economic malaise: Bandai (Koichi Sato), the owner of a once popular nightclub who's up to his fashionable lapels in debt to the yakuza; the gay extortionist (Masahiro Motoki) who loves him; Ogiwara (Naoto Takenaka of Shall We Dance fame), a downsized salaryman on the brink of mental collapse; an drug addict ex-police detective just out of stir (Jimpachi Nezu); and failed prize-fighter turned spastic pimp (Kippei Shiina). Each has a beef with the yakuza, most particularly Bandai, who is daily taunted and threatened by the unruly thugs. He organizes the motley crew and raids a yakuza office, and not only manages to make off with almost a hundred million yen but humiliates the thugs in front of their syndicate boss. In retaliation, the mob hires a hitman (Takeshi Kitano) who sports an eyepatch and works with ruthless efficiency, killing the five -- and those closest to them -- one by one without pity or remorse. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi
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