Mitsugu Okura (executive) for Shintoho
directed by Teruo Ishii
starring Teruo Yoshida, Shigeru Amachi, Yoko Mihara, Mako Sanjo, Reiko Seto, Teruko Amanbo, Seiji Hara, Toshikazu Hara, Tadashi Ikezuki, Shuji Kawabe, Susan Kennedy, Takeshi Kobayashi, Sosuke Kuni, Kyoji Murayama, Torahikmo Nakamura, Mitsuo Namino, Yoji Naruto, Yoichi Numata, Kyoko Ohgimachi, Tomohiko Ohtani, Keiji Oki, Akiko Ono, Jun Otomo, Shinji Suzuiki, Hiroshi Tsukiji, Katsuko Wakasugi, Masayo Yoshida
written by Teruo Ishii, music by Michiaki Watanabe
Young Emi (Yoko Mihara) is a talented dancer on her way to Kobe to
start a new engagement, when she is taken hostage by a killer whose last
job was a frameup and now he finds himself on the run and at the same time
wants to find out who framed him. He doesn't really want to take Emi
hostage, but he doesn't have any other choice. Also, he doesn't want to
kill her, but also doesn't know if that won't be necessary.
killer is dragging Emi with him on his quest though, meeting more and more
bizarre characters along the way, he really starts to trust Emi and even
like her, and she starts to like him as well, even if she knows she has to
make an escape at the first possibility.
Meanwhile, Emi's reporter
boyfriend Toshio has found out that the organisation she was supposed to
work for as a dancer is actually a coverup for a prostitution ring, and
since he doesn't know she has been kidnapped by the killer, he tries to
track down the prostitution ring called Yellow Line to save her.
Ironically, he soon follows the same leads the killer has followed to
track down those who have framed him, and in the end, they both end up
with local philanthropist Matsudaira, who's really an arch criminal. The
killer shoots Matsudaira of course, because this is what he has come for,
but now he's on the run from the police which Toshio has brought, and now
he has to use Emi as his human shield - and ultimately, Toshio musters up
enough courage to face him unarmed in the final shootout, which comes as
such a surprise to the killer that he loses his concentration if only for
a moment - but a moment is enough for the police to shoot and kill him.
itself, Yellow Line might only be a very entertaining, fast-paced
and well-made thriller, but seen in the context of director Teruo Ishii's
filmography, it's also a precursor of things to come: In Yellow Line,
Ishii manages to paint a very colourful picture of Kobe's underbelly full
of eccentric characters, and he already uses sleaze not for the sleaze's
sake but as a style element (though the film is positively harmless in
comparison to Ishii's later movies).
In all, don't expect an early Teruo
Ishii masterpiece, but expect to enjoy the movie nevertheless.