Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 11th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, August 4th, 1979
Director: Toru Murakawa
Writer: Shuichi Nagahara
Cast: Yusaku Matsuda, Jun Fubuki, Kei Sato, Mikio Narita, Asao Koike, Sonny Chiba
DVD released: April 26th, 2005
Approximate running time: 134 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
DVD Release: Adness
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis: Asakura (Yusaku Matsuda) is leading a double life. He is an accountant for Towa oil by day and a dangerous assassin by night. He has just pulled off his greatest job yet with a bank heist that has landed him 100 million yen. His perfect plan goes up in smoke when he leans that all the bills have been marked and that there is no way he can cash them. The only option left for him is to buy heroin with the money and then sell the heroin for a bigger profit. Asakura isn’t the only con artist in town. Sakurai (Sonny Chiba) with the help of his girlfriend have been blackmailing top officials who work for the Towa Corporation. Soon Asakura and Sakurai’s paths will intersect as they become more ambitious they will get caught in a web of deceit that may cost them their lives.
Yusaku Matsuda the star of The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf is most familiar with American audiences as Sato in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain. Yusaku Matsuda perfectly captures the doctor Jekyll and Hyde aspect of his character Asakura.
He transforms with ease from nerdy office clerk into a cold blooded killer with instincts like a jackal. One small back ground detail that I found clever is making Asakura a Hemophiliac, (“One of several hereditary blood-coagulation disorders in which the blood fails to clot normally because of a deficiency or abnormality of one of the clotting factors. Hemophilia, a recessive trait associated with the X-chromosome, is manifested almost exclusively in males.”). One false move on his part and he will bleed to death. Sonny Chiba has made a career since the late 1970’s playing the second banana in roles that are nothing more then cameos. Surprisingly Chiba’s character Mitsuhiko Sakurai is the most fleshed out character in the story. We know what he stands for and where he is going. Chiba is once again in a role playing the cool layback that gets more then his fare share of ladies. Despite his lack of screen time Sonny Chiba fans won’t be disappointed as he dominates the screen with his charisma.
The Look of the films is drowning in the décor that dominated the late 1970’s like Asakura’s shoulder length perm. Toru Murakawa’s direction is filled with imaginative compositions and stylized action sequences filled with operatic gun battles. Montages are frequently employed to cover a lot of story in the shortest amount of time. Director Toru Murakawa assembles one the strangest montages ever to grace the silver screen as he shows in quick succession Asakura and Kyoko’s sexual marathon the night they meet. Like in most films made around this time in Japan women are nothing more then mere props used as sex objects and to help forward the plot. This filled is with despicable characters that are at times very hard to sympathize with.
Adness presents The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film original 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the first time ever on home video in North America. Outside some minor print damage which occurs during the films opening credits this transfer is in amazing shape free of any nicks, scratches or debris. The flesh tones look dead on and the black levels are strong through out. There is some minor grain which is most obvious during the darker and night time scenes. The colors lucid and there are no problems with compression. Overall this transfer is on par with Adness’s other Sonny Chiba releases.
This DVD comes with only one audio option the films original Japanese language track presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. There are problems with distortion or his. The dialog comes through crystal clear and the action scenes sound robust. English subtitles that are easy to follow and understand have been included.
Extras include the films original trailer as well as trailers for Never Give Up, Shadow of The Wraith, Shikoku, Inugami and Isola. All these titles are currently available or are soon to be released by Adness. Rounding out the extras in liner notes written by the ever so informative Patrick Macias and the liner notes are included not in a separate insert. They have been printed on the inside of the DVD’s cover sleeve.
Adness comes through once again with their first rate release of The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf. What this release lacks in extras it more then makes up for with its exceptional audio/video presentation of the film. Yusaku Matsuda proves in spades his brilliance with his portrayal of Asakura that he could hold his own playing an anti-hero, Recommended.