Saturday, July 07, 2018

Yakuza Deka - I & 2 (1970)

Yakuza Deka (aka Gangster Cop)


This raucous rough and tumble action film occasionally comes up for air but in general what we get is a steady stream of action - even during the opening credits. Now there is nothing subtle or graceful about this action - more like doping fifteen 5 year old's with crack and putting them in a romper room without supervision. Everybody gets beat up or shot or blown up or stabbed or tortured. It is Yakuza world. Fun for the whole family.

Here is a useful tip for all of you who run crime families. If a guy shows up who has been thrown out by the police force and is looking for a job, just say no. No reason to kill him - just say no thanks we are full at the present time - because the chances are he is undercover. And this is the case with Hayata (Sonny Chiba) a spirited fellow prone to violence. A lot of it. Usually in films the undercover cop has internal debates about how far morally to cross the line to keep his cover - not Hayata - ordered to kill someone - sure why not.

Chiba was not yet the international star he would become within a few years with his Street Fighter films but he had been making films in Japan for 10 years and had begun to specialize in action films for the most part. In this same year he set up his training school in martial arts and stunts for hopeful actors. He was to draw from this for his own films. Even though much of the film has that over the top low budget overly edited feel to it Chiba has a few moments in which his physical abilities are very evident - the ease in which he climbs up a house or does a few back flips is lovely to watch.

This is the first in the Yakuza Deka series. There were three others.

Yakuza Deka - The Assassin


Hayata (Sonny Chiba) is back again as an undercover cop on his own sent in to destroy two Yakuza gangs. You would think the Yakuza grapevine would be better and know he was a cop but this was of course before social media.
This is in many ways the same film as the first but better in nearly every way. Not as cartoonishly violent but still plenty of it. In the same way as the first, Hayata saves a Yakuza from arrest and is brought into the crime family by his new found friend (who oddly is played by the same actor as his Yakuza friend in the first film) and a bond grows between them. Hayata is even cooler this time around with a black pimp hat large enough to house a family of raccoons and a rotating bed that has mirrors around it. I would get dizzy.
US army personal stationed in Vietnam are bringing in bales of marijuana that the Yakuza all want a piece of and are willing to eliminate the competition. Hayata is willing to lend a helping hand. He crosses a bunch of assassins along the way all with their special skills - two of them females who spit deadly needles. Finally a big shipment of drugs are due in on the cleverly named ship Nippon Reefer. That should fool the cops. A very enjoyable kick back and relax your brain film and watch Sonny Chiba showing his star power. There are two more in the series after this one that I would like to get my hands on.





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