Jingi naki tatakai: Kanketsu-hen (Battles Without Honor and Humanity 5: Final Episode) (1974)
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Critic Reviews for Jingi naki tatakai: Kanketsu-hen (Battles Without Honor and Humanity 5: Final Episode)
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Audience Reviews for Jingi naki tatakai: Kanketsu-hen (Battles Without Honor and Humanity 5: Final Episode)
By the end of the series, I still don't understand why they don't shoot once in the head instead of 10 shots to the body. Weird. On a better note, it is hilarious to see Hiroki Matsukata as yet another different character in the series. He's very watchable though and ends up delivering a solid performance. But Kinya Kitaoji, who was in the second film as Shoji Yamanaka, returns as a part of the Tensei coalition who tries to change the image of the yakuza in the public's eye. It doesn't work for me though because I associate him still as Yamanaka (who I wasn't drawn into either). The now famous Joe Shishido appears as Otomo, a yakuza leader who constantly snaps at everyone. Matsukata and Shishido do enough between themselves to create excitement until Ichioka (Matsukata's character) dies. By then things have build up to a point, that I care about what happens during the second half of the film. It is great that we have to wait to Shozo Hirono to come out of prison and into the action. And things get even more tense when he does. I was expecting a huge fight at the end, but was pleasantly surprised when one didn't happen. Instead we get a mature ending to a series that could have gotten really out of hand, and it did at times, but this final film brought everything together.
One director. Five films. Countless beatings, mutilations, and cold-blooded killings. Not to spoil anything, but Final Episode ends with the rather simple realization that all criminals become stuck in a vicious circle that's difficult to escape among tales of innocence lost and normal people whose lives have been changed forever, thanks to their part in a legacy of blood that shows no signs of stopping. Speaking of killing, the violence in the final film is so sparse that the movie feels tame compared to its' predecessors. There are only a few on-screen murders and beatings while the rest of the film deals instead with backroom politics and the ever-changing yakuza society. It took me a while to sit through all 5 films, but I'm glad to experience the tales of the first post-war yakuza circle. I recommend the 5 film series to anyone with interest in gangsterland epics.
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