Tokyo Drifter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tokyo Drifter Reviews

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November 26, 2012
Too knowingly artsy fartsy for a gangster B-movie. I liked Youth of the Beast more.
½ November 8, 2012
Definitely a B movie with pop culture of today.
October 3, 2012
Against all odds, Seijun Suzuki channels a half-broken screenplay with a B-movie budget with impressive grace and a style that was well ahead of his time, creating a stimulating, and ultimately enjoyable experience.
*2.5/4*
½ September 20, 2012
Point for style. But overall it's a convoluted mess and the exuberant color scheme is ugly at times, and only really serves to tell characters apart by their suits.
½ July 24, 2012
This yakuza flick shows a tale of loyalty and honor, in an utmost colorful manner. The scenes are shot perfectly and the dialogues are compelling and intelligent.
July 23, 2012
I didn't really love this Criterion release about a wandering Japanese loner who finds multiple criminal elements wanting to gun him down, but it had some stylistic elements that made it reasonably watchable. The gun fights while sparse were interestingly choreographed, and the films use of color was very unique. Still the story could have had a more engaging progression as there were small portions where I had to work to maintain interest.
July 21, 2012
A great exercise in B/ yakuza movies. The sets and cinematography make up for it's lackluster story and rather strange narrative. Suzuki was king of the Japanese mafia flick.
½ June 27, 2012
An absolutely kinetic exercise in style with enough energy in its visuals to compensate for a half-baked script. At this point in his career, plot was pretty much irrelevant to Suzuki; two films later, the Japanse film industry famously blacklisted him after he turned in 'Branded to Kill', a similarly frantic-styled film which took a very typical genre screenplay and turned it into an orgy of hypercool violence and jagged structure. 'Tokyo Drifter' concerns itself with an ex-mob boss, Kurata (Ryuji Kita), and his loyal ex-muscle assistant Tetsu (Tetsuya Watari). Tetsu is wholly dedicated to a straight life; the opening sequence, shot in stunning overexposed black and white (in stark contrast to the rest of the film's bright palette), depicts Tetsu as he is brutally beat by members of his old rival gang, who are testing him to see if he's really gone legitimate. Tetsu is perfectly willing to take a beating for his boss, who has been like a father to him, until things start going cockeyed and bonds are tested. After a violent incident, Tetsu decides to set out on his own- drift, if you will- but old habits die hard, and soon Tetsu finds himself back in a world of hurt and sacrifice, where feelings of love and friendship come second to instinct and self-preservation. In every scene, Suzuki embraces the era; sixties pop vibes pulse through the vivid colors and architecture of the film even if the soul of the picture is quite the opposite of "free love". He stretches his frame and splits his subjects, forcing us to take in the entirety of each shot. It is a visual bonanza, filled with striking compositions, and requires at least another viewing just to soak in the director's living, breathing style.
½ June 25, 2012
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Super Reviewer
May 30, 2012
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!"
May 21, 2012
The story doesn't always make total sense, but the visuals and the attitude more than make up for it. For fans of pure Japanese cinema, this is unmissable.
April 7, 2012
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.
½ March 22, 2012
The first Suzuki movie I saw and still the greatest of his works. Colorful, abstract set designs, bizarre editing structure, and insane coolness. But a lot of that was because of the lack of money given to him for the budget. Yes, those editing techniques were no a stylistic choice, but because they didn't have enough money to shoot the connecting shots! And yet it somehow works in the Godardian jump-cut world. Obviously, the movie was too weird for studio heads, and Suzuki was not able to work on the sequel To see the radical cinema of Japan in the 1960's, Tokyo Drifter is not an example film. It stands completely on its own, apart from the rest.
March 21, 2012
Very cool style, but it was hard to stay interested in the characters. Still, a skillful filmmaker who is interested in imagery.
March 20, 2012
I wasn't a fan of the plot, but it has to be one of the most visually beautiful films i've ever seen.
March 12, 2012
For hardcore fans of the genre only. The story is shit, the script is bad, the editing is a mess. Visually it's pretty awesome, especially the final shoot out, but overall this a turkey. A better introduction to 60's Japanese gangster films would be 'Pleasures of the Flesh'.
March 10, 2012
I have no clue of what this movie is about but it looks really cool.
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2012
Criterion have finally made an essential upgrade from their old DVD version and have realized a beautiful and faithful representation of Seijun Suzuki's "Tokyo Drifter"! This along with the film "Branded to Kill" released the following year, and ultimately getting Suzuki fired, are his most acclaimed and well known films of the renegade Director. The B&W opening with the overblown contrast is captured beautifully and really is poetic in it's image and being. The film then progresses into color and into the lives of various men and women both in and involved in some way to the Yakuza. Tetsuya Watari plays Hondo Tetsuya who is a skilled yakuza trying to go straight along with his boss and beat their old habits of the gang. This dream is torn apart as another rival syndicate enters the picture and threatens everything. The film is what I would consider an artistic action film that explodes with every gun fight and set piece with style to spare! The film is disjointed and crosscuts are used right as we are about to see something happen and then we are hours away and in a different area then before. It isn't until we realize that even though we didn't see the kill or other action, it was done and we have already moved on in the story in order to fit such a film into 82 minutes. This film is a fun and artsy adventure film that uses it's plot to advance the film to and from set pieces that the heart of the stylish film resides and is a blast to watch knowing the intention of the Director.
January 8, 2012
pop-art action! cool!
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