Dead End Run is an hour length collection of three short films by Japanese visual genius Ishii Sogo. Starring three of Japan’s hippest and most talented actors: Yusuke Iseya (Casshern,) Masatoshi Nagase (Electric Dragon 80,000V) and the extraordinary cool Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer, Electric Dragon 80,000v.) Each short focuses on the protagonists running away from a threat, be it a hitman or the police then finding themselves stuck in a dead end. Continue reading Sogo Ishii – Dead End Run (2003)
A homicidal maniac is on the loose, killing motorists at random in his “death car” – after losing his brother to the twisted assassin “Skull”, Rick Benten becomes a vigilante, and takes it upon himself to hunt down the reckless drivers that fill the streets at night. Being a master mechanic, Rick spends his time converting his pickup truck into an armed and dangerous vehicle – with speed to take on the fastest car, and strength to make sure in a one-on-one situation, he will be the only survivor. The cops soon find out about the vigilante known only as the “Gladiator” and do all they can to catch him before his citizen’s arrests go one step too far – but will they find the Gladiator before the Gladiator finds Skull? When the two finally meet, it’s a duel to the death and maybe an end to Rick’s career as the vigilante. Continue reading Abel Ferrara – The Gladiator (1986)
A rebellious Korean artist tests the limits of his sadistic patron, an omnipotent feudal Japanese lord. Yoshihide demands a commission to paint screens of the Hell which he sees the egotistical lord’s peasants suffer. Such a public display will challenge the uncaring upper class’ obsession with their own personal beauty. With Chinese and Buddhist influences at a peak in 11th century Japan, the daimyo Horikawa wanted a mural of Buddhist paradise. As Yoshihide’s ghastly artworks appear to come to life, the painter and his patron’s mutual racism also take their toll. Continue reading Shirô Toyoda – Jigokuhen AKA Portrait of Hell (1969)
The protagonist Chujiro, who possesses many attractive qualities, is a victim of unkind circumstances: his mother abandoned him as a child, so he had no choice but to live outside society. Even so, he grows up determined to reunite with her. Worried that she might be living in misery, he saves his money to help, only to find that she has married into wealth and social position and has no intention of seeing her outcast Yakuza son… Continue reading Tai Katô – Mabuta no haha AKA The Mother He Never Knew (1962)
Inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and intended as “a homage to the great writer,” this film is set in modern France rather than 19th century Russia. This is a story of Léon (Francis Huster), who has been recently released from a mental asylum and claims to be a descendant of a Hungarian prince. On his way from Hungary to France, he meets Mickey (Tchéky Karyo), a hood who has committed a successful bank robbery and plans to take brutal revenge on the brothers Venin for what they did to his girlfriend Mary (Sophie Marceau). Léon can hardly understand what Mickey is up to but he follows him everywhere and soon falls in love with Mary. This odd love triangle resolves in a tragic ending. The frantic pace of the film’s action can be compared to that of a runaway, hell-bound train. The colors and sounds go out of control, and violence abounds — all of which is intended to convey to a viewer the craziness of the time.
— (allmovie) Continue reading Andrzej Zulawski – L’Amour braque AKA Limpet Love (1985)
Laurence Fishburne plays no-nonsense LAPD narc Russell Stevens, Jr., who has worked all his life to expunge the memory of his dope-addict father, whom he saw die in a liquor-store robbery. DEA agent Jerry Carver (Charles Martin Smith) orders Stevens to work as an undercover operative on a major case. The cop is to pose as a dealer in order to get the goods on South American drug lord. Stevens is so convincing as a dealer, that he fast works his way up through the ranks and gains the trust of lawyer and narcotics dealer David Jason (Jeff Goldblum) and his sinister associates, all lackeys to the kingpin who is the target of Stevens’ assignment. Through a series of fantastic but credible circumstances, Stevens eliminates the lower echelon, getting closer to his quarry, but in the process he finds himself so deep into the sinister and seductive world of the drug trade that he may never get out. In a surprise move, and just when he is about to bring the ringleader down, the DEA pulls the plug on his assignment, because the top dealer, an influential Latin American politician, may someday be useful to the State Department. allmovie,com Continue reading Bill Duke – Deep Cover (1992)
With his operations in Istanbul being continually upset by the masked patriot-cum-vigilante Iron Claw the Pirate (Demir Karahan) and his female sidekick Mine (Nebahat Cehre), the legendary super villain Fantomas (Necati Er) travels to the city intent on eliminating the pair. In the meantime, a government operative, Yilmaz (Oktar Durukan), is killed during a raid on one of Fantomas’s lairs and his brother Yildirim (Yildirim Gencer) vows revenge. Teaming up with Iron Claw, Mine and the mysterious agent Uncle (Danyal Topatan), Yildirim soon finds himself in the thick of the action. But if our heroes are going to defeat Fantomas, they must first get past his chief henchman, the hulking, metal-handed Behcet (Behcet Nacar). Continue reading Çetin Inanç – Demir pençe (korsan adam) AKA Iron Claw the Pirate (1969)