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  100 Shot, 100 Killed Mister Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Year: 1965
Director: Jun Fukuda
Stars: Akira Takarada, Mie Hama, Ichiro Arishima, Jun Tatara, Akihiko Hirata, Sachio Sakai, Susumu Kurobe, Toru Ibuki, Chotaro Togin, Naoya Kusakawa, Koji Iwamoto, Mike Daneen
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Half-French, half-Japanese Interpol agent Andrew Hoshino (Akira Takarada) is eager to flirt with the local girls on his first assignment in Japan. Upon arriving however his partner is shot dead. He swiftly guns down the bike-riding assassins, but is soon matching wits with foxy female explosives expert Yumi Sawada (Mie Hama, looking every inch the Asian Audrey Hepburn). It happens Andy, as he insists she call him, is after a Chinese gun-runner smuggling stolen shooters for two feuding crime families. Yumi has thrown her lot in with the Akatsuki family while suave hit-man Komori (Akihiko Hirata) is out to eliminate Andy on behalf of the Aonama clan. Nevertheless Yumi cannot resist Andy's silky smooth charm. After a string of hair-raising adventures and escapes they team up to track down the real villain, enigmatic French arms dealer Hubert Le Bois on his island retreat near the Philippines, dragging bumbling police Detective Tezuka (Ichiro Arishima) along for an explosive showdown.

There is a cool moment in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) where after saving the young leads from alien bad guys an older, greyer Akira Takarada says: "People used to call me Mr. One-Shot." It is a reference to 100 Shot, 100 Killed, also known as Ironfinger, where the young, super-suave Takarada more or less plays the Japanese James Bond. Looking very sharp in his white suit, Andrew Hoshino wows the ladies by switching from French to English and Japanese and guns bad guys down by the dozen, but compared to Bond has a breezy, almost bumbling persona. No matter the situation Andy exudes an almost childlike enthusiasm, always smiling, happy to be in the thick of the action, often quoting his wise French mama, quite unlike Bond's detached cool. Yet this could also be a persona he has adopted given the film casts some ambiguity over whether he is an Interpol agent or a more mercenary, if still benign anti-hero. Either way Andrew Hoshino proves an incredibly amiable and charismatic character.

Interestingly on more than one occasion the hero has to be bailed out of danger by the pleasingly resourceful female lead. Indeed although Mie Hama has bucket-loads of sex appeal and appears in any array of skimpy outfits the film is remarkably free of misogyny. Yumi Sawada is every bit as clever, resourceful (a standout moment has her splatter an unfortunate henchman with her biplane before she nonchalantly parachutes out) and capable in a fight as Andrew Hoshino. Many of the high points of the film involve their flirty banter. This was probably the film that won Mie Hama her role as Bond girl Kissy Suzuki in You Only Live Twice (1967) though one could argue she is even lovelier and more charismatic here. Hama was a bus conductor (someone get me on a bus to Japan, right now!) when she was spotted by legendary producer Tomoyuki Tanaka. She quickly became one of the most in-demand actresses in Japan, appearing in more than sixty films including many monster movies and musical comedies opposite actor-singer Hitoshi Ueki. However Hama was always more interested in social issues than filmmaking. Today she is an active political and environmental activist and, according to film writer and Japanese genre expert Stuart Galbraith, still looks pretty dang hot.

One Hundred Shot, One Hundred Killed was among the many colourful spy thrillers Jun Fukuda much preferred making to his more famous monster movies, e.g. Son of Godzilla (1967). Aside from imitating James Bond parent studio Toho were attempting to compete with Nikkatsu studio's stylized mukokiseki akushon ('no nationality' or 'borderless action') films that combined westerns, film noir and musical comedy into one idiosyncratic yet thoroughly entertaining package. See for example: Black Tight Killers (1966), 3 Seconds Before Explosion (1967) and Stray Cat Rock: Female Boss (1970). Although far from a serious spy thriller the film is not quite a spoof either. It can't compete with Bond in terms of spectacle but delivers fast paced, colourful action and intrigue along with amusing and a heady dose of Sixties style. The incredible finale wherein Andy, a bikini-clad Yumi and pleasingly resourceful comedy sidekick Sgt. Tezuka wipe out a small army using only a box of matches must be seen to be believed. Andrew Hoshino would return in the sequel Booted Babe, Busted Boss (1968).



Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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