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Review: Black Society Trilogy (Arrow Video)

Black Society Trilogy
Amazon – $49.95

Starring: Kippei Shiina, Tomorowo Taguchi, Kazuki Kitamura, Naoto Takenaka
Director: Takashi Miike
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 24, 2017
Studio: Arrow Video

 

About:

After several years spent working almost exclusively in the direct-to-video world of V-cinema in Japan, Takashi Miike announced himself as a world-class filmmaking talent with this trio of thematically-connected, character-centric crime stories about violence, the underworld of Japanese society, families both real and surrogate, and the possibly hopeless task of finding one’s place in the world. His first films made specifically for theatrical release, and his first for a major studio, the Black Society Trilogy was the beginning of Miike’s mature career as a filmmaker and they remain among the prolific director’s finest works.

Set in the bustling Kabuki-cho nightlife neighborhood of Tokyo, Shinjuku Triad Society follows a mixed-race cop (Kippei Shiina, Outrage) struggling with private issues while hunting a psychotic criminal (Tomorowo Taguchi, Tetsuo the Iron Man) who traffics in children’s organs. Rainy Dog, shot entirely in Taiwan, is about an exiled yakuza (Dead or Alive s Show Aikawa) who finds himself saddled with a son he never knew he had and a price on his head after the Chinese gang he works for decides to turn on him. Ley Lines moves from the countryside to the city and back, as three Japanese youths of Chinese descent (including The Raid 2’s Kazuki Kitamura) seek their fortune in Tokyo, only to run afoul of a violent gang boss (Naoto Takenaka, The Happiness of the Katakuris).

Three of the most dramatically moving films created by the director, the “Black Society Trilogy” offers clear proof that Miike’s frequent pigeonholing as a specialist in bloody spectacle is only one aspect of his filmmaking career, and taken as a whole, the films are among the finest works ever to deal with the way violence and brutality can unexpectedly destroy even the most innocent of lives.

 

Review:

Black Society Trilogy is a Boxset of Films Directed by Takashi Miike. The films don’t relate to each other besides the fact that they all have a Yakuza gang involvement. These films are not the top of the Miike film list to have but still hold that collection or got to have it feel due to that its Takashi Miike. The films are not Bad, just not his best work. We have some gore, some nudity, Grit, Weirdness, Shock, and comedy.

Picture Quality is OK which is to be expected as Miike goes in trying to make them look bad on purpose for effect. And In-fact in Rainy Dog we get a weird sluggish pace look in a scene which was done on purpose. Sound Quality sounds good. Not a Big Base Feel which I wish we had. Over all both PQ and SQ for the films are Good for what they are.

Not really a Box but a Normal Blu-Ray Case with a slip cover with 2 Blu-Rays. One Disc with 2 films and the other with One. Films in this Set are Shinjuku Triad Society, Rainy Dog, Ley Lines.

Overall I give this Boxset a 4 out of 5. Give it a Shot.
Extras:

High Definition digital transfers of all three films

  • Original uncompressed PCM stereo audio
  • Optional English subtitles for all three films
  • New interview with director Takashi Miike
  • New interview with actor Show Aikawa (Rainy Dog, Ley Lines)
  • New audio commentaries for all three films by Miike biographer Tom Mes
  • Original theatrical trailers for all three films
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the films

 

Shinjuku Triad Society is the most shocking and twisted film in this set. For me its the 2nd best of the three films here. The film has a decent amount of shock especially when it comes to homosexuality. We have rape scenes and one with two guys. Not only we get that but Miike also had to add sound-effects for realism mixed with a few scenes of a guy going down on another. Cover your eyes guys. Action wise it’s also the film that has the most and the most gore. Now This film could turn a bunch of viewers off but that Miike as he goes in hard with the shock, and weirdness. As it was shocking, eye-opening insane like, well at-least for me to see I have to give this one a 4 out of 5.

Rainy Dog doesn’t have that shock or weirdness as the first film but what it does have is its story. It’s a slower paced film with some gore and action. The Weirdness will come in with the Editing and on purpose sluggishness of a scene that makes it look like something might be wrong with you copy. This film may or may not be the best in the boxset for other viewers as it’s not 100% Miike feel on weird and shock. But again for me its enjoyable Drama story makes it a better viewing for me. May feel slow and for that I give this film a 4 out of 5 I feel it’s about the same with the last film or even a tad bit better.

Ley Lines the more fun film as it deals with youths struggling to make their way in life but gets tangles in a crime family. We do have a decent amount of sex, some nudity and a decent amount of action. The weirdness come out in this movie thanks to some of the characters in the film which one is one the more dumb side kooky side which brings out some comedy. Story wise it’s not as deep as the second film and shock wise it’s not on par with the first film but it has a little bit of it all. The film doesn’t feel slow but I do wish we had some shock or more shock. Worth that said the film stands with the other two and I feel all the films in the set are equal in how I feel they rate. A 4 out of 5 for me here.

Overall the box-set was a good viewing. The Whole Trilogy gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

 

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About Masked Avenger

CEO/Webmaster of soreelflix.com. The Name Is James and I love Film ranging from Silent 20's to highly CGI Blockbusters of today. Westerns, Horror, world film, basically anything that peaks my interest I own it But Asian Films are what I Prize the most and Half of My collection Consists of Asian Films. Thanks to the Film 5 Deadly Venoms

I Hail From The US, Maryland Is where The Ninja Studies and views the Scrolls of Film That Shine on his 46" Screen. I own a sword, I can do a thousand upside down situps, and I randomly disappear in smoke when I'm not writing movie news and or reviews.

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