Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 1st, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, January 27th, 1963
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Writer: Gan Yamazaki
Cast: Jo Shishido, Reiko Sasamori, Naomi Hoshi, Tamio Kawaji, Yûko Kusunoki, Kotoe Hatsui, Nobuo Kaneko
DVD released: May 19th, 2009
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Kino International
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards was directed Seijun Suzuki, a prolific director who directed forty films for Nikkatsu Studios over a twelve year span (1956 – 1967). Some of his standout films as a director include Underworld Beauty, Youth of the Beast, Kanto Wanderer, Gate of Flesh, Story of a Prostitute, Tattooed Life, Fighting Elegy, Tokyo Drifter, Branded to Kill and A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness. The screenplay for Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards was written by Gan Yamazaki whose other notable screenplays include, Inn of the Floating Weeds, Fighting Delinquents and Tokyo Knights (all three of these films were also directed by Seijun Suzuki). The screenplay for Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards was adapted from a novel written by Haruhiko Oyabu. Several other films like Youth of the Beast, 3 Seconds Before Explosion and The Beast to Die were also adapted from novel’s written by Haruhiko Oyabu. Score for Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards was composed by Harumi Ibe whose other notable scores include A Colt Is My Passport and Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment. Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards features one of Seijun Suzuki’s frequent collaborators cinematographer Shigeyoshi Mine. Some of their most memorable collaborations include Kanto Wanderer, Gate of Flesh and Tokyo Drifter.
Director Seijun Suzuki had a knack for making films that were equally entertaining and subversive. While the subject matter for Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards is not anywhere near his more outlandish pop cinema concoctions it still manages to reel you in and keep you on the edge of your seat. The film opens with a bang, as one gang ambushes another and steals the cargo they were transporting. The criminals in this story are running circles around the inept police who in an act of desperation take a private detective up on his offer to go undercover and bring these gangs to their knees. The plot has just enough to move things along while the main attraction here is the action set pieces. In between double crosses and shoot outs Seijun Suzuki mixes things up with a few cabaret musical numbers. Jo Shishido is cast in the role of the private detective who goes undercover. Fans of Nikkatsu action cinema of the 1960’s will recognize Jo Shishido from his performance Hanada Goro from Seijun Suzuki’s final film at Nikkatsu studio’s, Branded to Kill. The most engaging performance in the film comes from Reiko Sasamori who is cast in the role of one of the crime bosses girlfriends. Her character shines the most once her motives are made clear for wanting to help Jo Shishido’s character. Ultimately Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards is another faced paced thrill ride from director Seijun Suzuki.
Kino International presents Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The source used is in great shape, colors look vibrant, flesh tones look natural, black levels and details look solid throughout. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. The interlaced image remains stable as there are no major issues with ghosting / blurring.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included. The audio is clean, clear and balanced. Overall this is a strong audio mix for a film that is forty six years.
Extras for this release include an image gallery with ten stills. Also include with this release are trailers for Cops vs. Thugs and Yakuza Graveyard, both films are also available on DVD from Kino Video. Overall Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards gets a well rounded DVD release from Kino International.