Tokyo Drifter (1966)
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Critic Reviews for Tokyo Drifter
A 1966 yakuza gangster thriller with a pop-art look by the formidable B-movie director Seijun Suzuki.
...plays like a mix of spaghetti western and samurai melodrama relocated to the pop-art splendor of 1960s Japan...
It's the camera trickery and the playful art direction that send up the entire image of the badass yakuza to begin with.
Audience Reviews for Tokyo Drifter
The first Yakuza film I've ever seen, and for me, a real eye-opener. I love movies about trying to leave a life of crime behind, and I really enjoyed this one and got behind the hero, Tetsu. If you're a Tarantino fan, watching this (or other Suzuki films) will put his work (particularly the Kill Bill films) into proper context. Exotic music, insanely bright colours, and as far as I'm aware, the earliest instance in my viewing history of the supered-on-the-screen text that we're seeing more and more in North American films, too. A window into 60s Japanese pop culture, and like nothing I've ever seen before.
A pop 60's aesthetic, a cool like Steve McQueen, a powder blue seersucker suit and an indescribable plot miraculously combine in this B-movie chic from Japan about a mob guy (the Yakusa, baby!) trying to go straight. As another made guy famously said: "... every time I try to get out they drag me back in!"
Seijun Suzuki's "Tokyo Drifter" is a very silly but important B-Movie. It encompasses the 1960s Japanese New Wave into one film. It's visual and auditory mischief can certainly be amusing (and often copied, most notably by Quentin Tarantino with "Kill Bill: Volume 1") but it also adds up to next to nothing. It's hard to fully embrace a film that makes so little sense. There is nothing to plug into emotionally or narratively. The film may be fun and it's use of color is dazzling, but without any human anchor (which Tarantino certainly added to his pictures) we are left will all style and very little substance.
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