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Kenkai tai Soshiki Boryoku

Cops vs Thugs

Japan 1975
produced by
directed by Kinji Fukasaku
starring Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsukata, Tatsuo Umemiya, Mikio Narita, Seizo Fukumoto, Reiko Ike, Nobuo Kaneko, Yoko Koizumi, Hideo Murota, Sanae Nakahara, Asao Sano, Maki Tachibana, Kunie Tanaka, Shingo Yamashiro
written by Kazuo Kasahara, music by Toshiaki Tsushima

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Cop Kuno (Bunta Sugawara) is best friends with yakuza Hirotani (Hiroki Matsukata), and not just because he bribes him, either, but because he believes there is much good left in him. This is because Kuno always warns him about raids, lets his men off the hook repeatedly, gives Hirotani advice on how to stay out of the police's hair and still run a ciminal organisation, and most important of all, he helps Hirotani spoil the land deal the rivalling Kawade organisation and their mentor assemblyman Tomayasu were planning to strike with the Nikko oil corporation. Kawade doesn't like that, so before long the city has a gangwar onto its hands - but because Kawade has as much friends on the police force as Hirotani, the police refrains from interfering ... until a new man from headquarters, Lt Kaida (Tatsuo Umemiya), is made head of the task force to end the yakuza wars, a man who isn't on any payroll, who outrightly refuses bribes, and who goes against cops on the force who accept bribes, cops like Kuno.

Lt Kaida knows how much Kuno is involved with Hirotani, so he has Hirotani's place raided behind Kuno's back - which eventually makes Kuno fall out of favour with Hirotani. And then Kuno is even suspended from his job ...

Kaida puts the pressure on Hirotani's boss who has just been released from prison, and he ultimately orders Hirotani and his men to become part of rival Kawade's gang. Hirotani of course refuses, and eventually he holes himself up in his house with his most loyal men, hell-bent to shoot it out with the police. Now Kaida wants Kuno back, because Kuno is pretty much the only cop who can talk Hirotani into giving up. Ultimately, Kuno succeeds even, but has to shoot Hirotani, the best friend he ever had, in the process ...

Five years later, Lt Kaida has quit the force and accepted a job at the Nikko Oil Company, curiously enough the very company involved in the land deal that started the whole mess. Kuno meanwhile has staid with the force, but has been degraded to patrolman duties - and is ultimately killed very unglamourously in a hit-and-run accident.


Very nice and mean gangster picture in which director Kinji Fukasaku, whose distrust in authorities is  just as strong as his distrust in yakuza, refuses to even draw a line between the titular cops and thugs, refuses to make a distinction between good and evil - and he tells a good and highly original story just because of that. And even the film as a whole might not be as dynamic and as compelling as his yakuza masterpieces like Street Mobster, Battles without Honour and Humanity and Graveyard of Honour, this is still a highly watchable, intelligent and at the same time entertaining genre flick.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD