OUTLAW GANGSTER VIP REVIEWED
“Outlaw Gangster VIP” opens on Goro Fujikawa as we follow him from a street rough into a Yakuza assassin. Over six films, we get to see what is widely considered to be a realistic look at Japanese thug culture and how it exists naturally in the 1960s Japanese landscape. For a series of six films that have never been seen legally in America before, I feel that we’re due a re-examination of how the crime film was handled in Japan. We’re used to the stylized crime flicks of Suzuki or the Nikkatsu release. But, this wants to almost Truffaut the approach.
Toshio Masuda is an Asian director that I didn’t know before “Outlaw Gangster VIP”, but I’m glad for the exposure. By following Goro through the life of an assassin, we see the allure and the imprisonment of the position. The films never break over 100 minutes, but they never waste a moment. Too much of American crime fiction wants to linger in the emotion and that’s wrong. Eastern Cinema understands that excitement builds to satisfaction with this material.
While most would claim that “Battles Without Honor and Humanity” handles the same material in a better fashion, I feel that’s a misstep. Battles goes out of its way to glamorize the criminal street life. Outlaw Gangster VIP shows it in a way that never doesn’t feel real. For 90s cinema hoodrats, Battles is “Colors” while Outlaw Gangster VIP is “Juice”. Got it now?
- Audio commentary on Outlaw: Gangster VIP by Jasper Sharp
- Visual essay covering the entire series by Kevin Gilvear
- Original trailers for all six films
- Extensive promotional image galleries for all six films
- Exclusive gatefold packaging featuring brand new artwork by Tonci Zonjic
- Booklet featuring an interview with director Toshio Masuda by Mark Schilling, plus new writing by Schilling, Chris D and Kevin Gilvear
A/V QUALITY STATS
- 2.35:1 1080P transfer
- LPCM mono
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
- Video - 94%94%
- Audio - 91%91%
- Supplemental Material - 90%90%
The Plot Thus Far
In 1968, acclaimed director Toshio Masuda (Rusty Knife, Tora! Tora! Tora!) and rising star Tetsuya Watari (Tokyo Drifter) teamed up for Outlaw: Gangster VIP, a gritty yakuza yarn based on the writings of real life ex-gangster Goro Fujita.
The series offers up a depiction of the Japanese underworld that was unprecedented in its realism and its sympathetic portrayal of its protagonist as a man haunted by his past, unable to escape a life of crime. The success of the initial installment spawned five sequels, continuing the story of the lone wolf Slasher Goro and his quest for redemption.
The films presented a new kind of realism and violence that would prefigure Kinji Fukasaku s Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, with their winning combination of brutal violence, gang warfare and sweeping romance, these films make for a unique and unforgettable viewing experience.
The set includes six films in the Outlaw series released for the first time in the west: Gangster VIP, Gangster VIP 2, Heartless, Goro the Assassin, Black Dagger, and Kill!