Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 15th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1997
Director: Rokuro Mochizuki
Writers: Yukio Yamanouchi
Cast: Shunsuke Matsuoka, Yuna Natsuo, Eiji Okuda, Yukio Yamanouchi
DVD Released: November 15th, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 110 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Suround
DVD Release: Artsmagic
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Kinichi a Yakuza enforcer has been given once last to redeem himself. His is given the dubious task of assassinating a rival Yakuza clan’s boss and if he messes this job up it will mean his life. Yoko is a young waitress that Kinichi meets a local coffee shop while he waits for Yamamoto the man he is supposed to kill to show up next door. Kinichi immediately becomes smitten with Yoko. The two are soon inseparable and one night while they are out on a date Kinichi sidekick who has been helping him watch for Yamamoto’s arrival is unable to get a hold of Kinichi so he decides to finish the job himself. The man loses his nerve and only grazes Yamamoto in the assassination attempt which only further complicates the situation between the two gangs and Kinichi’s position with in his own clan. Kinichi wanting out of the Yakuza life takes Yoko with him to the town were he was born. Shortly after his arrival Kinichi gets a job selling a drug called “Shabu”. Old habits die hard as Kinichi soon becomes addicted to the drug he is selling and he starts selling “Shabu” in other rival Yakuza clan’s territories.
The title of this film “A Yakuza in Love” is deceptive as most of the film revolves around Kinichi’s relationship with Yoko. Anything that actually has to do with the Yakuza aspect of his life is put in the background and is mostly used as a secondary plot to further the main plot which is a love story. Director Rokuro Mochizuki with A Yakuza in Love progresses as a filmmaker as his themes are more fully developed and mature.
Visually this film is more polished then his previous two Yakuza films Another Lonely Hitman and Onibi: The Fire Within. This films moves along briskly for its nearly two hour time length and then is little if any filler as every scene proves to be integral and interesting. The actor who plays the character Kinichi gives a fascinating performance of a man crippled by his drug addiction. Overall A Yakuza in Love is a truly satisfying film.
Artsmagic presents A Yakuza in Love in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves its original 1.78.:1 aspect ratio. The colors are nicely saturated and flesh tones look accurate. The black levels are solid and there is an exceptional amount of detail present in every frame. There are no problems with compression or artifacts. Over this is one of the best looking transfers I have seen from Artsmagic to date.
This DVD offers two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital stereo mixes both are in the films original native language Japanese. The audio is clean and the effects and music sound evenly mixed. Overall both audio tracks are in great shape with no problems with hiss or distortion with Dolby Digital 5.1 getting the slight edge for its fuller sound. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to follow and understand.
Extras for this release include bios & filmographies for all the major cast and crew. These bios are well written giving an insightful overview of the cast and crew. Other extras include two interviews with Tom Mes one about Rokuro Mochizuki and the second interview focuses more on the Yakuza genre. Overall Tom Mes brings a lot to the table with his insightful observations and knowledge of Rokuro Mochizuki and the Yakuza genre. Rounding out the extras is a seventeen minute interview with the films director Rokuro Mochizuki who discusses in depth the film A Yakuza in Love.
Artsmagic continues to assemble first DVD’s that not only come with a solid audio/video presentation they also come with a wide variety of extras. A Yakuza in Love is nothing short of a masterpiece with its raw depiction of violence and twisted sense of real love, highly recommended.
For more information about A Yakuza in Love visit Artsmagic here.