Killers on Parade (Review)

Killers on Parade

aka 夕陽に赤い俺の顔 aka Yuhi Ni Akai Ore No Kao aka My Face Red in the Sunset
Killers on Parade 夕陽に赤い俺の顔
Written by Shuji Terayama
Directed by Masahiro Shinoda

Killers on Parade 夕陽に赤い俺の顔
Killers on Parade is a dark comedic flick that features a group of gimmicked hitmen and women as eventual adversaries to our plucky hero, who is on a mission to bring down a corrupt construction firm and the newspaper editor that is attempting to blackmail it. The plot is less important than the colorful characters that are part of the Downtown Killer Club. Killers on Parade is set in a garish comic book world filled with colors and items that bother to label themselves so you know what they are. The villains have gimmicks and costumes that leave you with no doubt as to their gimmicks and roles, and scenes are shot to play up common film locations. While things are overtly goofy, there is enough danger seeded to try to raise actual stakes, but this factor doesn’t seem to have aged well enough to make it to modern day without seeming like a distraction instead of an integrated part of the show.
Killers on Parade 夕陽に赤い俺の顔
The Murderers 8 present as a united front, but are fiercely competitive, though follow a sense of honor when being assigned jobs, preventing others from interfering and disrupting all their down time. Despite all the characters having day jobs, all they seem to do all day is hang out with each other and get into marksmanship competitions. The Murderers 8 include (please excuse the lack of names for some, they just didn’t get their name mentioned out loud!):

  • Hong Kong, a Yakuza gangster stereotype in black suit, who is the most dangerous of the group.
  • Senti, a gun champion.
  • The bespectacled Doctor, who handily always carries around a black bag that says “Doctor” on it in English.
  • Sergeant, a former soldier.
  • An Older Guy who appears to dress as a shrubbery cutter.
  • A Sports Guy who wears jerseys and during the final battle, a full football uniform and helmet.
  • Scarf Guy, whose gimmick is he has a scarf (Okay, they didn’t have time to give everyone personalities!)
  • Nagisa (Kayoko Honoo), the lone female killer who often dresses in red and has a pet goat named End. She ran off from home to be a killer, but is starting to grow disillusioned with the lifestyle.

The overall tone is comedic with random bursts of song, providing a send up of the then-recent spate of neonoir/borderless action flicks in Japanese cinema, dosed in wonderful technicolor and layered in sensible silliness. Things seem to make both perfect logical sense in universe, but are also ridiculous when you stop to think about them. The killers demonstrate their marksmanship by shooting at an apple on a kid’s head before the credits. Later they have another shooting competition at the race track to see who gets the new contract.
Killers on Parade 夕陽に赤い俺の顔
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Intimidation (Review)


aka ある脅迫 aka Aru Kyohaku
Story by Kyo Takigawa
Screenplay by Osamu Kawase
Directed by Koreyoshi Kurahara

Intimidation ある脅迫
An arrogant bank manager named Kyosuke Takita (Nobuo Kaneko – The Magic Serpent) is about to move on to the executive board, but gets enveloped in a blackmail scheme and must try to rob his own bank in a desperate attempt to come up with the funds. His sad sack childhood friend Matakichi Nakaike (Ko Nishimura), who Takita has used and degraded, becomes a scapegoat, and soon things devolve into a murderous mess. Intimidation serves up a slow-burning lesson of treating people well, but aside from the tense robbery sequence in the middle, there are few high points to recommend hunting Intimidation down immediately.

You can’t examine Intimidation without seeing the obvious class consciousness of the film. Takita is in the upper echelon of society, who married into money and is set for easy street. His friend Nakaike is stuck on the lower rung, his few opportunities were snatched away by Takita, or twisted around to make it seem Takita was solely responsible for them. Nakaike’s lack of confidence doesn’t help him, and much of his time is spent making excuses for his friend and doing things in the background like warming sake. The bank manager sees Nakaike as an unmotivated chump who they keep around only for Takita’s benefit, sort of ironic due to the manager’s later confession that he doesn’t understand all the loan paperwork that Takita has been handling for him.
Intimidation ある脅迫
Despite the class struggles, Takita’s downfall is he is an arrogant bastard. He’s so used to getting his way and shooting up the ladder of success that he doesn’t care at all whoever he steps on during his climb. Even people who are loyal friends that would have made great companions he treats with disdain, only using them for his own ends. His childhood friend Nakaike seems a complete tool, Takita talking down to him in front of the bank manager. Takita talks like Nakaike owes him everything, and he’s such a screw-up that he’d be on the streets if it wasn’t for Takita. Nakaike’s lack of confidence doomed him to forever be in Takita’s shadow. When Takita’s around, Nakaike fades away and Takita gets all the focus.
Intimidation ある脅迫
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