Ryuzo And The Seven Henchmen / Ryuzo to Shichinin no Kobuntachi / 龍三と七人の子分たち
Whether referencing the famous samurai and/or dwarves, or even the less famous hoods, Kitano Takeshi’s Ryuzo And The Seven Henchmen, his recent exercise in over-written plot makes for a rather dull successor to a long tradition of a lucky number of anti-heroes motivating a storyline. Here we’ve got Ryuzo (Tatsuya Fuji – remember him from Ai no corrida?) gathering together a bunch of old geezer yakuza buddies to kick some righteous young criminal butt after an attempted telephone scam. The old guys are cute, in their bullying one-dimensional caricatures. Not. Takeshi, who once challenged us to like his brutish criminals, now just let’s them signify, rather than earn our respect. These guys are types without much behind them. By the time of the big confrontation, the most interesting guy is the dead guy. And the final chase, with the ojichan’s hijacking a bus, is not only ineptly filmed and edited, but a total head-scratcher. Kitano’s take on those twilight gangster years revels in its easy way out, its pallid stereotypes and assumptions and its poorly manipulative and poorly paced structure. What were you thinking, Takeshi-san?
Originally published in EL Magazine, May 2015