Cops Vs Thugs (1975) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Kinji Fukasaku
Starring: Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsukata, Tatsuo Umemiya
Rated: UR/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available From Arrow Video
In Kurashima City, there are two yakuza families; the Kawade, who use political connections to further their activities, and the Ohara, who have an alliance with the local police. When Ohara acting boss Hirotani usurps a staged land deal away from Kawade, thanks to the help of his police friend Kuno, a war breaks out. At the same time, Kuno’s superiors start cracking down on the yakuza and command the cops stop fraternizing with criminals.
From the same director that brought us such things as Battle Royal and Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Kinji Fukasaku comes a movie he made in 1975 between New Battles, Cops vs Thugs. As this movie opens we have a cop who is having his way with some young yakuza, but we soon see he’s so cocky because he’s best friends with the interim boss of one family. Not only is he cool with them but a whole bunch of the force is friends with them as well. Things are cool for a while until a new chief comes into play wanting to stop the bond between the force and the yakuza. We also have other stuff going on with another yakuza group causing trouble as well. Soo the friendship is tested and bad things start happening. Basically, this is a really cool movie all around and it is the type of movie I’m sure people like Quentin Tarantino grew up loving and it was an influence for many movies we have seen and still see today.
Bunta Sugawara really steals this movie as a whole. He plays his role so well that we can’t help but love the guy even when he isn’t being 100% good on screen. His friendship with a guy who he vows to make the boss of the yakuza is really a fun thing to see and we watch and hope that all will go well even if in these types of movies that is rarely the case. The movie as a whole has a lot of cool and violent moments to offer up. People are stabbed, shot, and beaten inside interrogation rooms by the police. That scene in question looks soo good because the actor asked to really be beaten to make the scene look good. All in all, if you can dig movies like Takashi Miike then you’ll dig this one as it feels like something he kinda borrowed from down the road. The movie looks a little soft in spots in HD but the movie more than makes up for it and looks better than any other release of the film I’m sure.
– High Definition digital transfer
– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
– Original uncompressed mono audio
– Optional English subtitles
– Beyond the Film: Cops vs Thugs, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane
– A new visual essay on cops & criminals in Fukasaku’s works by film scholar Tom Mes
– Theatrical trailer
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
– FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Patrick Macias
Quality of Transfer: 77%