Battles Without Honor And Humanity: The Complete Collection
Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale) gave the world Japan’s answer to The Godfather with this violent yakuza saga, influencing filmmakers from Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs) to Takashi Miike (Graveyard of Honor, Audition). Made within just two years, the five-film series brought a new kind of realism and ferocity to the crime genre in Japan, revitalising the industry and leading to unprecedented commercial and critical success.
Literally exploding onscreen with a mushroom cloud, and ending with Hiroshima’s A-bomb Dome, the epic story of Battles Without Honor and Humanity follows over 100 characters through twenty years of gang wars, alliances, betrayals, and assassinations, in an exciting exploration of criminal power and politics in Japan. In the opening episode, ex-soldier Shôzô Hirono escapes from the post-war black markets to become a key member of the Yamamori gang, but soon finds himself disillusioned by the selfish duplicity of his bosses. Hiroshima Death Match focuses on a demobilised kamikaze pilot drifting through the early 1950’s, whose suicidal impulses find good use as a mob assassin. Proxy War and Police Tactics form a labyrinthine, two-part story of ambition and betrayal set against Japan’s rapid economic growth of the 1960’s, with Shôzô caught between warring factions. Final Episode concludes the series in the 1970’s as the former Yamamori gang transforms itself into an economic conglomerate called the Tensei Group, in a bid for mainstream respectability.
Fukasaku and his team broke with the longstanding studio tradition of casting marquee idols as honorable, kimono-clad heroes, defending their gang bosses against unscrupulous villains, and instead adapted true accounts torn from the headlines, shot in a documentary-like style, and with few clear-cut heroes or villains. The vibrancy and dynamism of the filmmaking, plus its shocking violence, Shakespearean plotlines, and wide tapestry of characters, launched a revolutionary new genre, establishing the series as one of the great masterpieces of world crime cinema.
Battles Without Honour and Humanity
When Battles Without Honour and Humanity first hit Japanese screens in January 1973, partially inspired by the success of The Godfather, it blasted out a new Ground Zero for crime cinema not only in Japan, but in the rest of the world, and spawned a legendary series that would lead to additional ...
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Death Match
The celebrated Battles Without Honour and Humanity series continues with its second episode, Hiroshima Death Match, setting aside part one protagonist Shôzô Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) to follow a side story showcasing genre icons Sonny Chiba (The Street Fighter) and Meiko Kaji (Female Prisoner 701: ...
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Proxy War
Moving beyond the true stories dramatized in the first two episodes of the Battles Without Honour and Humanity series, director Kinji Fukasaku and screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara embark on their most complex narrative yet in Proxy War, a multi-character web of alliances and betrayals set against the ...
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Police Tactics
Continuing the storyline begun in episode three of the Battles Without Honour and Humanity series, Police Tactics sees director Kinji Fukasaku and screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara further depicting the life-and-death struggle of the gangsters of Hiroshima and Kure, even as the rest of Japan is beginni...
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Final Episode
The Final Episode of the Battles Without Honour and Humanity series brought a new, more contemporary mood to the film and its characters. The yakuza may be starting to resemble a legitimate business, but director Kinji Fukasaku, working with new screenwriter Kôji Takada, never lets the audience f...