Gokudô kuroshakai (Criminal Underworld: Rainy Dog) (1997)
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Rainy Dog is the second film in Takashi Miike's Black Society trilogy and it is also a more milder Yakuza film from him.
Now, while this is the second movie, there is no relation, other than the dark Yakuza theme, between this one and Shinjuku Triad Society. It is a different story with a different cast of characters.
The story is pretty weak as this movie focuses more on character. The film does get off to a decent start, however a good portion in the middle of this 95 minute story is bland and uneventful. The minimal dialogue from the main character doesn't help. The final 5-10 minutes deliver a good ending though. A Kill Bill inspiration perhaps?
The violence is mild, despite all the shootings, and the nudity is non-existent. I only bring this up, since this is a period where Miike's strong graphical nature is on the loose and this film seems to hold back on that.
The characters are unemotional, with the exception of Tomorowo Taguchi, who plays a different character from the first Black Society film. He steals the spotlight, despite having very little airtime. Sho Aikawa is a fitting contract killer, but as previously mentioned, he is pretty bland.
Some may find this Yakuza thriller interesting, but Rainy Dog is one film that needs a more eventful approach.
This, being the second film in Miike's THE BLACK SOCIETY TRILOGY, plays very close to Takeshi Kitano's take on the yakuza lifestyle. Sho Aikawa is the broken, wandering, and disconnected criminal who is bored with the lifestyle and discovers he has a son. Similar themes throughout the film remind me of Hana-Bi, in which the lead character sets out on a sad vacation while welcoming death as a release from the lifestyle. With less story and less dialogue than its' trilogy counterparts, this is my favorite of the three. It's Miike's films, like Rainy Dog, that set him apart from from being labeled as a Johnny-one-note.
Tomorowo Taguchi almost steals the whole thing from Aikawa. The script is very limited, but Miike manages to squeeze the most out of the less.
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