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Sympathy for the Underdog (1971)

Cast: Noboru Ando, Tomisaburo Wakayama
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Studio: Homevision
Genre: Foreign, Japan, Crime, Gangsters, Yakuza
Running Time: 93 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku first sketched out the lean and uncompromising vision of life among the Japanese Mafia which dominated his acclaimed Yakuza Papers series in this potent crime drama. Gunji (Koji Tsuruta) is a veteran gangster who is eager to return to life in the underworld after spending ten years in prison. However, Gunji soon learns that the yakuza is not what it once was, and there is little call for his personal moral code in a world where crime has become big business, and is operated as such. Striking out on his own, Gunji joins forces with some old compatriots and takes over the liquor trade in Okinawa, but his bold actions make him many enemies among the leaders of the larger and more powerful outfits, and blood must be shed in order to determine who will rule the business. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Every dog has it's day, but... by MMeldola February 6, 2005 - 9:50 PM PST
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Sympathy for the Underdog is unquestionably a triumph of style. One could argue that Fukasaku and Suzuki have production values that rival Kubrick. Unlike Suzuki, Fukasaku does not push the envelope of the genre. This film is not compelling. You do have some interesting tangents in the plot. When the gangsters of old seem lost in the new way of doing things, they flee to an "old fashioned" turf, namely Okinawa, where the American military enter the turf wars. Aside from the unusual backdrop of Okinawa, the plot of the outdated gangster(s) plods along to a predictable climax. I would not recommend this film unless you are an avid fan of the Japanese B movie gangster film. If you need your eyes popped with gun battle and blood, you will get your fix; I have sympathy for you. Others should check out Fukasaku's Virus, which is a pretty good science fiction film. Good science fiction films are as rare as honest politicians.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.11)
18 Votes
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