HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Murder Unincorporated Funny or Die
Year: 1965
Director: Hiroyuki Nasu
Stars: Kon Omura, Yoko Yamamoto, Kanbi Fujiyama, Jô Shishido, Minoru Shiraki, Bontaro Taira, Kiyoshi Hitomi, Hiroshi Hijikata, Yumiko Nogawa, Eiji Go, Juro Sasa, Toru Yuri, E.H. Eric
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Members of a Japanese crime syndicate are being bumped off, one by one, by an anonymous killer nicknamed Joe of Spades. The panicked crooks contact Murder Unincorporated, an organization that sends out an array of oddball assassins to dispatch the elusive, unidentified Joe before he wipes out the gang. Among these crazy killers for hire are dapper, poetry-spouting Heine Maki (Hiroshi Hijikata) who hides a firearm in his book of poems, baseball obsessed O.N. Kane with his trick-shooting bat, disgraced fish-phobic sushi chef Knife Tatsu, a little kid (Minoru Shiraki) dressed in Thirties gangster garb who claims he is Al Capone's grandson, and Konmatsu (Kon Omura), a bespectacled klutz with a Jerry Lewis voice. While the inept assassins scour the town in search of Joe, Heine is distracted by Emi (Yoko Yamamoto), a femme fatale who uncannily resembles his terminally-ill sweetheart Miho (also Yoko Yamamoto). In the meantime Konmatsu adopts Jiro (Jô Shishido), a seemingly unassuming young man with suspiciously super-slick sharpshooter skills, as his protégé. Amidst all this rival crime boss Anzai hires his own bounty killers and sets a plan in motion to eliminate everyone else.

Nikkatsu maverick Seijun Suzuki became a cult figure among cinephiles on the strength of Tokyo Drifter (1966) and Branded to Kill (1967), films perceived by western critics as postmodern parodies of the crime thriller. Yet a similarly playful and subversive sensibility is apparent throughout Murder Unincorporated, a wild and wacky Nikkatsu crime comedy released one year before Suzuki's satirical duo earned him the enmity of the studio brass. "If you don't laugh when you see this movie, I'm going to execute you", would-be tough guy Konmatsu snarls directly to camera in a pre-credits sequence that signals the anything-goes tone. What unfolds is a fast-paced genre parody that skips from one zany, borderline surrealistic comedy set-piece to another. Some gags involve fast-motion chase sequences, many more centre around outrageous feats of gunplay while others evoke Japan's 'manzai' tradition of comedy that pairs a zany, hyperactive dimwit with an exasperated straight man. Konmatsu's Martin & Lewis like double act with Jiro neatly reverses the standard manzai comedy roles as the inept antihero never quite grasps the real identity of his far cooler, more capable sidekick even though the latter is played by Nikkatsu superstar Jô Shishido!

Briskly directed by Hiroyuki Nasu, who went on to make Nikkatsu's lone entry into the kaiju eiga (monster movie) genre: Gappa – The Triphibian Monster (1967), Murder Unincorporated employs lighting tricks and theatrical techniques more commonly found in Hollywood musicals. For all its self-conscious wackiness the film exemplifies super-stylish pop cinema: the Nikkatsu ethos in a nutshell. Aspects of the plot anticipate later, darker comedy thrillers such as Kihachi Okamoto's more mean-spirited Age of Assassins (1967) and Katsuhito Ishii's Tarantino-esque Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl (1998). Although played for laughs and for a large chunk seemingly unconcerned about coherence, the story does eventually add up and the third act even swerves into dramatic territory before the final, rip-roaring shootout. Thanks to energetic performances from an amiable cast of comedians and veteran Nikkatsu performers, the wacky characters emerge as lovable losers, each with their own tragicomic back-story. Yet the central joke, perhaps liable to evade non-Japanese viewers unfamiliar with the studio's output, is the plot is no more convoluted nor ridiculous than the usual 'serious' Nikkatsu action film. Paired with Danger Pays (1962) and Tokyo Mighty Guy (1960) as part of Arrow Video's exemplary Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 2 boxed set, Murder Unincorporated seemingly aroused the ire of cult film fans more accustomed to the grim and gritty side of Japanese crime cinema. Yet like those films if entered into with the right spirit it is uproarious fun.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1958 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: