Massacre Gun (1967) (Blu-ray film review).

April 23, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘Massacre Gun’ is an interesting movie from Japan. A cult movie perhaps. It certainly is not what you would expect. Made in 1967, it’s a film noir shot in black and white, oozing with atmosphere and featuring gangsters from the crime world, there are no samurai swords or tattoos to be seen. It’s not Science Fiction, it’s more fantasy you could say because it completely removes the viewer from the conventional picture of what a Japanese film should be like.


Basically, it’s American in nature. They are dressed in suits, smoke cigarettes, drink whiskey, listen to and play jazz and there is not a piece of sushi on view. The main actor is Jo Shishido, who plays the part of Kurodo, a hitman for the mob. He is not pleased when forced to kill his girlfriend simply because the boss orders it and with his brothers, he rebels and sets up his own gang. This causes warfare which ends up in a magnificent shooting episode, bloodthirsty in nature and exciting to watch.

When thinking of Japanese cinema, we are so used ‘The Seven Samurai’ and it’s a revelation to see something like this. The action is smooth and sleek, smoky and alluring with sleazy strippers in a jazzy nightclub. The plot isn’t over-ambitious but it’s not that sort of movie. Overall, it’s one to be experienced in a certain frame of mind.

If you don’t know much about the genre, it doesn’t matter because, if you buy the disc, it comes with a host of extras which more or less explain everything. There is an interview with the main actor and another with critic and historian Tony Rayns, both of which an interesting and informative. This isn’t Science Fiction, rather it’s a type of film noir adventure. Quite a few films of this nature were made in Japan in the 1960s and early 70s, so much so that the traditionalists began to rebel saying that true Japanese culture was being eroded. I believe someone actually committed hari-kari in protest! The genre has now disappeared but you can take a dip into the past by looking at this unique piece of cinematic history. One to recommend!

Rod MacDonald

April 2015

(pub: Arrow Films. 2 blu-ray disks duel format DVD Blu-ray 89 minute black and white film with extras. Price: $39.95 (US), £14.99 (UK). ASIN: B00TLOGYDS)

cast: Jo Shishido, Tatsuya Fuji and Jirô Okazaki

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Category: Culture, Films

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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