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Hai tiin yakuza

Teenage Yakuza
Teen Yakuza / High-Teen Yakuza

Japan 1962
produced by
Jiro Tomoda (planner) for Nikkatsu
directed by Seijun Suzuki
starring Tamio Kawaji, Noriko Matsumoto, Keiko Sugiyama, Kayo Matsuo, Keiko Hara, Sazo Kiura, Asao Sano, Midori Tashiro, Kotoe Hatsui
written by Mamoru Okusono, Nozomu Yoshimura, music by Harumi Ibe

review by
Mike Haberfelner

High schoolers Jiro and Yoshio are best friends, who really are interested first and foremostly in getting by and having fun, so nothing unusual - but when they see two young gangsters try to extort "protection money" from a restaurant owner, they feel that teach those two thugs a lesson is the right thing to do ... and they're good at it, giving their opponents a sound beating, until one of the hoodlums draws a knife and cuts Yoshio's leg, effectively crippling him. Yoshio's father, when he hears about this, wants to rush to his son's aide, but gets killed in an accident on the way.

Yoshio now learns first hand what it is to be crippled and without a father, not only is he laughed at, also hid late father's customers refuse to pay what they owe him straight out, just because they have no respect for him or his mother, and if that drives Yoshio and mum to despair, so be it. But that makes Yoshio an easy target for the K-Club, the local yakuza clan the thugs that crippled Yoshio are actually members of. Now they welcome him with open arms and promise to collect dad's money - for a small commission of course. And Yoshio soon starts to enjoy yakuza life, and the reputation that comes with it.

Jiro in the meantime has taken it upon himself to fight yakuza extortionists wherever he can find them, and he's a good enough fighter to usually emerge victorious, too. He becomes a champion of all neighbourhood stores, and eventually, local businessmen start to pay him for protection. So eventually, he becomes a problem for the K-Club, and they manage to actually turn his virtue into his vice, reporting him to the police for extorting protection money. Sure, the accusations don't stick and he's let go before long - long enough for the yakuza to completely destroy his reputation though and make him seem worse than any of them. But he's sure he has done the right thing, even if his methods might have been wrong. And he wants to continue doing good - but has to figure out a new approach with his enemies seemingly having covered all the bases ...


Teenage Yakuza is a charming little teen flick that for sure has its heart in the right place without hammering its message home. And it's all packed into imagery that still looks fresh today, thanks to director Seijun Suzuki, who hadn't earned his reputation as a cult filmmaker and notoriety as a genre dissecter yet, but already showed signs of greatness in his filmmaking ways, hiding irony in the shadows, going for unusual set-ups or even visual compositions, all to give the viewer more than they've paid for.

For fans of Mr Suzuki, this movie sure is a precurser of things to come, but even without that hindsight, this is good retro-entertainment for sure!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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