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Kikuo (Tetsuo Ishidate) and Asao (Gin Maeda) have just bought their own
truck, which is pretty much the fulfillment of all their aspirations, even
if the way to buy it was rocky: Kikuo and Asao and three others decided to
save up for a truck when thrown into jail, but soon Ichiro bailed out when
his girlfriend got pregnant and has been continuing to get pregnant ever
since, so much so that he has to borrow money frequently just to feed his
family. Then ex-boxer Ryuji got killed when he became a strikebreaker just
to make enough money to pay the monthly instalments for the truck. And for
the same reason, Kyoshi took part in a heist and got busted.
Kikuo and Asao couldn't be happier about their new truck and the money
they make from it - but soon there is a strike among the truck drivers,
and just to pay their instalment on the truck and not lose their business
altogether, they have to become strikebreakers themselves ... which even
puts a strain on their friendship. But their friendship is really strained
beyond breaking point when Kyoshi escapes from prison, killsa cop and asks
his former friends and partners for abode. Kikuo tries to persuade Kyoshi
to give himself up the very next day - which would also be the most
sensible thing to do as Kyoshi was injured during the escape and is
visibly dying before their very eyes. And yet, Kyoshi manages to persuade
Asao to take him to the seaside, the place of his birth and youth, where
he should have remained nd become a fisherman like his father wanted him
to. Kikuo and Asao get in a violent fight about what to do with Kyoshi,
that eventually ends with Asao taking the truck to run Kikuo down, then
take Kyoshi to the seaside. But Kyoshi dies on the way there, and when
Asao notices this, he accidently crashes the truck.
Asao is arrested for
helping Kyoshi to escape while Kikuo makes a trip to the crashed truck -
and wishes they never would have bought it ...
Up to 1970,
director Kinji Fukasaku was known first and foremost as a genre director
(with a few notable exceptions), but here he tries to make an arthouse
film - which turns out to be a film that shows promise but is less than
great. Thing is that Fukasaku treats arthouse filmmaking way too much like
another form of genre filmmaking, and instead of finding his own cinematic
language, he tries to emulate French nouvelle vague and Italian
neorealismo, and the socio-political and economical messages the film
carries sadly lack real conviction, instead just seem as an excuse for the
film to frequently lose sight of its plot.
That all said, If You were
Young: Rage is certainly no complete failure and it definitely shows
promise - a promise that Fukasaku ironically fulfilled later, when he
returned to genre filmmaking, and the gangster genre in particular.