Party 7) at the rundown hotel “Symphonia” in an undetermined mountainous area somewhere in rural Japan. Toshiko implements a plan to run away from her disturbed uncle and is finally on the road when she is distracted from her drive by a guy fleeing past her car naked but for his tighty whities. This underwear clad guy is a good-natured bad guy by the name of Samehada ("Sharkskin"), played by Asano Tadanobu (Party 7, Ichi the Killer). Samehada stole some money from this yakuza group he worked for, and seems to be haphazardly fleeing without much in the way of an escape plan. Fortunately for him, and not so much for Toshiko, she rams into the pursuing vehicle filled with Yakuza, flipping their car and knocking her unconscious. Samehada quickly commandeers Toshiko's damaged car (with her unconscious still inside), and the chase is on. When Samehada and Toshiko hit the road, bullets and knives fly, and we are introduced to director Katsuhito Ishii’s crazy cast of characters.
The Violent Rundown.
The Final Verdict.
The move itself looks good (although with the dark and grainy late 1990’s Japanese cinema look aside), with great costumes and decidedly non-urban Japanese landscapes. The movie also includes one of the best opening credits sequences in a yakuza film, and really sets the tone for what’s to come. In fact, I can't imagine a person seeing the opening sequence and NOT wanting to immediately go out and see this movie:
Although at its core, this is clearly a “lovers on the run” flick, Samehada clearly isn’t running scared. He’s running because it’s fun. Asano Tadanobu seems to be having so much fun in fact, he doesn’t seem to be