Takeshi Kitano's VIOLENT COP
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
This Japanese film from 1989 follows a senior detective around as he tracks local drug kingpins he discovers have connections inside the police department. He plays outside the rules and is barely tolerated. When he tracks down a suspect his behavior is violent, cruel, and vicious. As he upsets the local drug “business arrangements” his mentally disturbed sister is kidnapped by the bad guys. The cop goes on a cool, calm, and collected rampage. Much blood is spilled in the process.
Stated this way one can imagine any number of films that fit this boilerplate. In the hands of director Kitano we get instead a steady but brutal procedural that we gradually realize is Not Going To End Well. Kitano plays the main character and his mannerisms, way of talking, and even his walk signal a calm demeanor that barely conceals the coiled vigilante underneath.
Moral codes? There are none here. Kitano’s character lives outside the mainstream despite his devotion to his sister. He is close to no one at the police department where he works and, in fact, has silent contempt for them.
The pace of this film is languid as we follow the characters around between bouts of sudden and occasionally awful violence. We spend much time in the city streets and back alleys of this water-side Japanese city.
It is my understanding that this was Kitano’s first film as a director. His confidence in front of and behind the camera is impressive. Recommended (for the non-squeamish).
Review copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald