A plane crashes in some mountains, killing Mr Nakumo, the rich but
benign major landowner of the region, and now his erstwhile rival Kido
claims Nakuma has written all his land over to him, including the land of
an orphanage/farm, and owner and orphans are threatened with eviction if
they are unable to pay an exorbitant rent - which would of course play
right into Kido's hands, who wants to build a skeeing resort in the region
and could very well need the orphanage as a hotel.
Enter drifter Goro
(Sonny Chiba), who's actually a detective for Nakumo's company who can't
quite understand why Nakumo would sign over his land - and when he's
repeatedly shot at by Kido's men, he knows he's on the right track. Kido
meanwhile has hired hitman Tetsu the Blade to guard his interests, and
when Tetsu and Goro meet, they take an immediate liking into one another,
even though they know they fight on opposite sides.
Eventually and after
much to and fro, Goro finds out the planecrash was not an accident at all
but orchestrated by Kido's own girlfriend, and Nakumo was not in the plane
at all but forced to sign over his land afterwards and then killed. Kido
has to realize that Goro has come too close to the truth, so he has
Shikako, the daughter of the owner of the orphanage and Goro's love
interest, kidnapped to keep him in line, but Goro decides to attack Kido's
hideout and shoot her free - a suicide mission if it wasn't for Tetsu, who
switches allegiances and helps Goro in not only freeing Shikako but also
seeing to it that all the baddies get their just rewards.
very early film by later cult director Kinji Fukasaku, starring Sonny
Chiba towards the beginning of his career, this is a competently handled
and likeable whodunnit/detective adventure, that curiously enough shows
many parallels to B-Westerns from the 1930's and 40's in both style (lots
of horses and stetsons, lots of fistfights and shootouts, ...) and story.
But while all of this sounds like cult potential, this film will probably
never become a cult classic, it's merely light-footed genre entertainment
with no deeper meaning to it, which means while the film might be 100%
enjoyable, it's also something you will have forgotten rather quickly.