Last Gunfight (1960)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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In the Japanese detective saga/action film Ankokugai no Taiketsu (AKA Last Gunfight), the legendary Toshiro Mifune portrays Fujioka, a detective facing corruption charges. As the story opens, he receives a demotion and gets reassigned to a crime-ridden district overrun by two notoriously violent and ruthless Yakuza clans: the Oka and the Kazuka. The Oka attempt to buy Fujioka off and recruit him as an ally against the Kazuka, but the detective befriends Murayama, a former Kazuka member hell-bent on revenge against the Oka for rubbing out his wife. Fujioka thus prepares to take on the Oka as adversaries. The tone of the film is (given its subject matter) somewhat atypical: light, playful and fun. Koji Tsuruta, Yoko Tsukasa, Jun Tazaki and Makoto Sato co-star. Though this film went long unreleased theatrically in the United States, students of Japanese cinema will be fascinated to know that it did air quietly on New York's Channel 7, late one night in March 1967. Ankokugai no Taiketsu also screened at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival, 37 years after its Japanese premiere.