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Kamata Koshin-Kyoku

Fall Guy

Japan 1982
produced by
Haruki Kadokawa (executive) for Shochiku
directed by Kinji Fukasaku
starring Mitsuru Hirata, Keiko Matsuzaka, Morio Kazama, Daijiro Harada, Chika Takami, Keizo Kani'e, Rei Okamoto, Hyoei Enoki, Nagare Hagiwara, Toshiya Sakai, Akihiro Shimizu, Nijiko Kiyokawa, Sonny Chiba, Hiroyuki Sanada, Etsuko Shihomi, Seizo Fukumoto, Akira Shioji
written by Kouhei Tsuka, music by Masato Kai

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Ginshiro (Morio Kazama) is a moviestar already past his prime, but he'll do everything to ride the wave a little longer. Then though he gets his girlfriend Konatsu (Keiko Matsuzaka) pregnant, which is bad, career-wise - also because he has already become involved with another woman, Tomoko (Chika Takami), who's better for his career. So he persuades Yasu (Mitsuru Hirata), a slightly naive member of his entourage and professional bit player, to marry Konatsu and become her daughter's dad, to which Yasu quickly agrees because he has always been in love with Konatsu, and half-heartedly, Konatsu agrees to this deal as well, basically because she doesn't have too much choice in the matter if she doesn't want to anger Ginshiro, who she still is in love with. And after all, Yasu might not exactly be handsome or smart, but he's a decent guy at least and he worships the ground she's walking on.

Yasu knows he doesn't have too much to offer to a woman, but he figures if he works harder, he might be able to change that - thus he is no longer content with being just a bit player but also starts stunting on the side - and without formal training, he gets injured a lot.

After Tomoko breaks up with Ginshiro, he tries to steal Konatsu away from Yasu again, but she has started falling in love with Yasu, turns Ginshiro down and actually goes through with the wedding. After that, Ginshiro falls into a deep depression, not made any better by professional problems like the fact that work on his new film might be shut down. Eventually, he doesn't even show up on set anymore, and it's up to Yasu to drag him back. There is one glitch though: Ginshiro's film that's threatened to be shut down requires a very complicated and possibly lethal stunt to get back on track, a fall down an extremely long staircase, and no stuntman in all of Japan is willing to take the risk. Yasu says he'll do it though, because the wellfare of him, his wife and her unborn daughter are directly linked to Ginshiro's success, and should he die, she'll at least be able to collect life insurance...

His willingness to take the fall in the film makes Yasu the star of the production at least for a few hours, and he even earns Ginshiro's respect, who has so far only treated him like dirt. Ultimately, Yasu falls down the stairs, survives it bruised and battered, then climbs up half the staircase once more, as if to prove something. To make the happy ending perfect, Yasu doesn't only survives his fall, Konatsu's daughter is born the very same day ...

Of all the films genre veteran Kinji Fukasaku had made in his then 20 year career, it was for some reason this one that earned him multiple awards. Sure, the film is an insightful story about filmmaking in general, and action movies in particular, but then it's all wrapped up in the context of a cute romantic comedy - and that's the film's problem, it's so cute, so harmless, so inoffensive. Granted even, there are a few pretty good jokes in this film, but it lacks any kind of edge to be a really good film. That all said, Fall Guy is still ok entertainment, the characters are all fleshed out and likeable, the direction is competent to say the least, and lovers of Japanese genre cinema will love the film for its many injokes, it's just no film that really deserves a special place in Kinji Fukasaku's versatile career.


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
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD