Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 5th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1973
Director: Teruo Ishii
Writer: Kazuo Koike (Manga)
Cast: Yuriko Hishimi, Goro Ibuki, Tetsuro Tamba
Approximate running time: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Discotek
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Shiro is a wanted assassin who is tired of being chased by the law see suicide as his only way out. His attempt at suicide is foiled when he is rescued and brought back to health by members of a clan known as the Bohachi. Shiro agrees to help the Bohachi dispose of their enemies in return they will provide his sanctuary from the law. Can Shiro trust the Bohachi to uphold their need of the bargain or will they cut him loose after he serves his purpose.
Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight was adapted from a Manga written by Kazuo Koike who also created these series Hanzo the Razor, Lady Snowblood and Lone Wolf & Cub. The film was directed by one of Toei’s most gifted filmmakers Teruo Ishii who directed countless genres classic for Toei including Horror of the Malformed Men, Shoguns Joy of Torture, Inferno of Torture, Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition & Torture, The Executioner and The Executioner 2: Karate Inferno. The lead role of Shiro in Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight is actor Tetsuro Tamba. Some of Tamba’s most memorable roles are Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs, You Only Live Twice (James Bond Film) and the T.V. series “Key Hunter”.
“To die is hell, but to live, is also hell.” Are words that are spoken by Shiro the antihero throughout! He is man with no regard for life even his own life which his is willing to sacrifice at any moment. The plot revolves around Shiro and his dealings with a clan known as Bohachi who have removed servitude, loyalty, trust, propriety, justice, conscience, shame and religion from their code of honor. The Bohachi have no respect for women who they violate into submissive slaves who serve their masters sexually and they physically put their own lives on the line to save their masters. The rest of the characters are made of rival clans and corrupt government officials.
Visually and stylistically Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight falls somewhere in between The Lone Wolf & Cub films and the Hanzo the Razor films. Director Teruo Ishii has a knack for creating some of the most fantastically perverse set pieces that are equally brutal and laced with sex. The film’s opening credits are go right for your throat with their blood soaked credits and severed limbs. There is plenty of nudity including sword and hand to hand fighting by the female cast. Don’t let their beauty fool you they are equally if not more dangerous than their male counter parts. One of the film’s most memorable moments occurs while Shiro is being drugged. This scene which starts out as a drugged induced orgy turns into a blood bath. The best fighting sequence is of course happens during the films finale.
The cast for Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight is very strong. The most polarizing role in the film is without a doubt Tetsuro Tamba as Shiro. Anotehr stand out role is Yuriko Hishimi who plays one of the Bohachi women who are assigned to help protect Shiro while he kills all their enemies. One scene involving the Bohachi women protecting Shiro that stands out features the ladies rolling around over the ring of fire that has been lit around Shiro. After they put out the fire they remove their clothes and walk around naked before kicking some more asses in their birthday suites.
Overall Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight is one of the most remarkable and unforgettable films to emerge out of Toei’s Pinky Violence cinema movement.
Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This progressive flagged transfer sports vivid colors, solid black levels and details look razor sharp throughout. Overall someone would be hard pressed to find anything to complain about this superb looking transfer.
One audio option has been included with this release the film’s original Japanese language mix presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Removable English subtitles that easy to read and follow are error free.
Now when it comes to the extras this disc really takes things up a notch. Extras include a photo gallery (24 stills including pages of the screenplay), bios/filmographies for director Teruo Ishii & actor Tetsuro Tanba and liners notes about the film written by Chris D. & Mark Schilling. Also included is another photo gallery titled “From the Manga to the movie”, a trailer for Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight and trailers for other current and future Discotek DVD releases. Other extras include a twenty one minute interview with actress Yuriko Hishimi and sixteen minute interview with Pinky Violence expert J-Taro Sugisaku. The interview with Yuriko Hishimi gives a solid overview of her career and the interview with J-Taro Sugisaku who has some interesting thoughts on the Pinky Violence genre. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with Pinky Violence expert J-Taro Sugisaku, Cult movie director Takao Nakano and it is moderated by Yoshiki Hayashi. The three participants impart some insight in-between their moments of off cuff humor. This release also comes with a forty two second clip where the three participants from the audio commentary introduce themselves. Also included with this release is a reversible DVD cover with alternate artwork.
Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight is one of this year’s most anticipated DVD releases. Discotek have spared no expense making this the most definitive release of Bohachi Bushido: Clan of the Forgotten Eight to date.