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Review: Outlaw: Gangster VIP Collection (Arrow Video)

Outlaw: Gangster VIP Collection (Boxset)
4 stars

Starring: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubararrell

Directors: Toshio Masuda

Release Date: April 19, 2016

Run Time: 500 Minutes (6 Films)

Format: Blu-Ray Color: Color

Audio: Japanese Subtitles: English

Distributor: Arrow Video

Audio/Video

Audio

Audio Language: Japanese
Dubbed:
Subtitles: English

The Sound Quality is great with no distortions , clear dialogue and the volume levels seem great but a tad louder so you might need to lower the DB levels some.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Picture Quality

Disc Format: Blu-Ray

The Picture Quality is great very sharp details and popping colors. Black levels look great with skin tones looking realistic. As these are older film we still do get some film artifacts like white popping dots and some film damage but nothing too distracting

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Synopsis – Box Set

In 1968, acclaimed director Toshio Masuda (Rusty Knife, Tora! Tora! Tora!) and rising star Tetsuya Watari (Tokyo Drifter) teamed up for Outlaw: Gangster VIP, a gritty yakuza yarn based on the writings of real life ex-gangster Goro Fujita.

The series offers up a depiction of the Japanese underworld that was unprecedented in its realism and its sympathetic portrayal of its protagonist as a man haunted by his past, unable to escape a life of crime. The success of the initial instalment spawned five sequels, continuing the story of the lone wolf “Slasher” Goro and his quest for redemption.

The films presented a new kind of realism and violence that would prefigure Kinji Fukasaku’s Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, with their winning combination of brutal violence, gang warfare and sweeping romance, these films make for a unique and unforgettable viewing experience.

The set includes six films in the Outlaw series released for the first time in the west: Gangster VIP, Gangster VIP 2, Heartless, Goro the Assassin, Black Dagger, and Kill!

Extras

 

  • Limited Edition Box Set (3000 copies) containing all six films in the Outlaw series, available with English subtitles for the first time on any home video format
  • High Definition digital transfers of all six films, from original film elements by Nikkatsu Corporation
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Audio commentary on Outlaw: Gangster VIP by Jasper Sharp
  • Visual essay covering the entire series by Kevin Gilvear
  • Original trailers for all six films
  • Extensive promotional image galleries for all six films
  • Exclusive gatefold packaging featuring brand new artwork by Tonci Zonjic
  • Booklet featuring an interview with director Toshio Masuda by Mark Schilling, plus new writing by Schilling, Chris D and Kevin Gilvear

 

 

My Thoughts

 

Outlaw: Gangster VIP Collection contains 6 disc 3 of which are DVD and the other 3 Blu-Ray Each disc houses two films which makes this a 6 Movie deal. Also the boxset is limited so if you’re a Japanese movie collector get it while you can because the films are great. The first film sets the mood bringing great action, action, drama and a great story.

The first film in the set is the best but what this set doesn’t do is go down hill, Yes we go some OK films on this list making the 3rd film my least favorite but still worthy of viewing but it picks back up making the last 3 films in this set great. Chieko Matsubara is the female lead in all the films but what makes it confusing at times is she is playing different role in every film. The first two films are the only films that relate making the others feel like stand-alone’s.

Overall the boxset was a great watch mixed with great action, gore and story lines. Yes the story lines go up and down at times but the action seems to remain great in all the films. Some things I wish we had in this set would be more blood, some nudity and give more heart and character build up. Give the 3 rd film more of a prequel feel and I think this boxset would be more of a classic.

I give Outlaw: Gangster VIP The Complete Collection a 4 which is the average of the entire set combined. Go pick this set up before its to late. A review for each film can be seen below.

 

 

 

Outlaw: Gangster VIP

5 stars

Starring: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Mitsuo Hamada

Directed: Toshio Masuda

Theatrical Release Date: January 1968 (Japan)

Run Time: 93 Minutes


Synopsis

Goro (Tetsuya Watari) had grown up in the yakuza world. As an active member of the Mizuhara family crime syndicate, he expressed his loyalty by always putting himself in the forefront of every battle. Violence never bothered him. However, after being sentenced to three years in prison for stabbing a rival gang’s hit man, he becomes disenchanted with the Yakuza life style. Goro is determined to start anew, but karma catches up. His two closest friends are murdered by his ex-boss. He is left with two options: to kill or be killed.

 

Review

Outlaw: Gangster VIP is a Yakuza film dealing with two clans. One of which we have Goro are main lead on one side and a friend on the other. As with most gangster films the two clans hate each other but after a stint in prison after the two guys tried to kill each other things change. Love interest run away others pop in and another is forced into prostitution. To make things even more complicated in the story two brothers are also divided by with one brother in one clan and the other brother in the other clan.

Story Wise the film was great. Loved the plot, and so much was going on that was not just action but drama and characters die that you catch a feeling because you gained interest in that character. The 2nd love interest of Goro’s is pretty hot too but a little crazy I think as it was love at first sight for her. Action wise we have a decent amount of battles as clan vs clan duel in knife battles and other scenes with Goro going Rambo. We also get some gore and an ending that ends with Goro Walking down an Ally bloody battered and bruised.

Overall Outlaw: Gangster VIP was a great watch and so far the first film in this 6 film set helps set the series as a great one. I Cant wait to see the other films as this film does not have anything that needs changing. I also want to mention the score was great too as it brings that gangster vibe.

With that said I give this film a 5 out of 5 and belongs on any collectors shelf especially Japanese cinema viewers. Go pick it up.

 

Trailer

 

 

 

Outlaw: Gangster VIP 2

3.5 stars

Starring: Tetsuya Watari, Izumi Ashikawa, Eimei Esumi

Directed: Keiichi Ozawa

Theatrical Release Date: April 28, 1968 (Japan)

Run Time: 97 Minutes

Synopsis

Goro (Tetsuya Watari) wants to put his dark past behind. He heads to Hirosaki City to offer his condolences to Yumeko and to reunite with Yukiko (Chieko Matsubara), but finds that Yumeko is fatally ill. Although Yukiko was taking care of her, she is pressed for money. Goro wants to help and knows that there is only one way to come up with fast money.

 

Review

Outlaw: Gangster VIP 2 is of course the 2nd film in the collection and it starts off just like the first film with a flashback to Gorro as a child and this time we get to see more. I like that and hope the other films follow. Now Gorro has been away for some time and now he gets a train and heads to where his friend’s wife and his main squeeze are living. After a few minutes of getting catching up with each other Gorro is off to get a job, A real job as he wants to live a Non Yakuza lifestyle. Now things happen and the company has to let him go so he is back but with a different clan.

The story is good not great as some plot points run the same line as the first film like Gorro having a friend with the opposing clan. Gorro’s clan member who he looks after as chief is in love with a girl and runs off with her and leaves the clan but this time the ending path is different. Another subplot that is the same but runs off ending in on a different path is that when Gorro gets to location at the start of the film he helps out a few chicks and one instantly falls in love with him. The story still remains in the normal time line thought with same actors playing the same characters so it’s definitely a sequel which I like. The down side is also that you don’t feel for the new characters like you did with the first film. Action wise is the same but with maybe a little less action. The ending ends the same way with a big fight with Gorro playing Rambo taking down a clan and him ending up insanely hut. This guy must have a ton of scars

Overall Outlaw: Gangster VIP 2 was still a good watch but it’s just not as good as the first film and I don’t think you can top that one any how. Add more action, gore which by the way was absent. Add more story and change-up the similarity’s in the subplot lines as the first and we could have had a better story.

With that said I give this film a 3.5 out 5 as it’s still a pretty good watch and I recommend checking it out.

 

Trailer

 

 

 

Outlaw: Heartless

3 stars

Starring: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Kôji Wada

Directed: Mio Ezaki

Theatrical Release Date: August 1, 1968 (Japan)

Run Time: 92 Minutes

Synopsis

Goro Fujikawa (Tetsuya Watari) was indebted to Mitsugimoto. Sawada, a low rank yakuza with a gambling problem, owed Mitsugimoto three million yen. This equation can only lead to one answer. Mitsugimoto needs to pay and Goro’s coming to collect.

 

Review

Outlaw: Heartless is the 3rd film in the set but doesn’t follow the last two as a squeal but from what I’ve read this could be a Prequel. No references are made from the first two films and in-fact his love interest from the last two films are non-existent, Except…. The same girl (Chieko Matsubara)

who played his love interest is here playing a different character to make things a tad more confusing.

The story is good just not as good as the first films in the set with no real character set ups or build ups to make you feel for them. But the film does still has its charm story wise. Action wise we get about the same good action knife fights and fist fists with a big ending brawl.

Overall Outlaw: Heartless was a good watch but a tad below the other two films. I wish we could have gotten a real prequel with Gorro just entering the Yakuza and showing how inexperience he is. We get a Gorro who is still well-known as mentioned by characters in the film. The film has heart but not for some character development. Story is still good with the same great action and Sound track running through out

With that said I give this film a 3 out of 5 making this film the not as good as the first two films. Still, It’s a good watch and you should give it a shot. Lets see where the next film takes us.

 

Trailer

 

 

 

Outlaw: Goro The Assassin

4.5 stars

Starring: Tatsuya Fuji, Shôki Fukae, Chitose Kobayashi, Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara

Directed: Keiichi Ozawa

Theatrical Release Date: 1968 (Japan)

Run Time: 87 Minutes

 

Synopsis
The Norris family get jobs working at a seedy old carnival as a cover for searching for their missing son who disappeared after visiting said carnival. Eccentric manager Mr. Blood turns out to be a vampire while the evil owner Malatesta rules over a gaggle of ghastly ghouls who watch silent movies when they aren’t feasting on human flesh

 

Review

Outlaw: Gorro The Assassin is the 4th film in t the set that is a sequel to the 3rd film and possibly a prequel to the first two films but who cares at this point. The film brings to the table a better story and also brings back the heart. The feeling you get for certain characters yet not much character build up like the first film.

The opening we find Goro heading back to prison but sadly no cool prison scenes. A friend is also involved but dies in prison giving Goro a mission to find his sister and find work. The difference here is Goro doesn’t join a Yakuza clan but does know members and of course clans still hunting Goro. Chieko Matsubara is back but this time playing a different character once again making this the 3rd character switch up for here. She plays the same type of girl of falls for Goro but Goro doesn’t want the involvement for her own safety but still she does get in way when it comes to safety.

The story was good bringing The Yakuza, Prostitution, Strip clubs plots in-front of the story. Some Nudity but only die to posters not Live action. Action Wise we get a tad bit more than the other films bring more blood and a lot of knife fights.

Overall Outlaw: Gorro The Assassin was a good watch and I have to say its my Second favorite film so far right behind the first film. Thinks to its story and action. Yes Chieko Matsubara plays a different character and I do like her as she is easy on the eyes but that portion of her playing different roles every movie can get confusing. I think that might be the only kind of down side.

With that said I give this film a 4.5 out of 5. Definitely give this one a shot. Off to the next film.

 

Trailer

 

Outlaw: Black Dagger

4 stars

Starring: Yoshirô Aoki, Shôki Fukae, Eiji Gô, Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara

Directed: Keiichi Ozawa

Theatrical Release Date: February 1968 (Japan)

Run Time: 86 Minutes


 

Synopsis
A street war breaks loose between two rival gangs in the Kansai region of Japan. Goro (Tetsuya Watari) is in the middle of action. Through a knife fight against Sueo, a high profile gangster from Busou-kai, Goro notices a familiar face approaching him from amidst the chaos – his girlfriend, Yuri (Chieko Matsubara). Goro had sent her to safety, but she had returned, aching to see him. Caught between Goro and his enemy knife, she reunites with her love – the price was her life.
Review

Outlaw: Black Dagger is the 5th film in this box set that once again we find are ruthless dagger swinger Gorro not attached to a clan. But of course he is hunted down and picked on by one. Also are main female lead (Chieko Matsubara) is back for a short time but then she comes back playing a different character who Gorro and another guy see’s her as the Gorro’s love from before. The story line runs after the last film and starts off with a big knife fight that leaves Gorro’s Love killed. Gorro sets out to find work and try to live a normal life but of course the towns he rolls too seems to have a Yakuza Problem.

The film is filled with action and probably the most action in all the films featuring 3 big fight scenes with Gorro and a Group of bad guys. Guns get thrown around some and Gorro takes in more damage this go around. Story wise I thought the film was good just not as good as the last film as it does have that heart but it’s not as deep as the first and fourth film Gangster VIP and Gorro the Assassin.

Overall Outlaw: Black Dagger was a good watch, making this my 3rd favorite film of the set. Featuring more action and Gorro getting tagged up more especially a few times across the face makes this a better action film. I Wish Gorro had the revenge feeling and I really wanted him to go more crazy due to his love being killed but he shows more heart.

With that said I give this film a 4 out of 5 and feel the film keeps up with the other 2 films I liked. Give the film a shot and watch Gorro exit all beat up and blooded at the end.

 

Trailer

 

 

Outlaw: Kill!

4 stars

Starring: Shinjirô Ehara, Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara

Directed: Keiichi Ozawa

Theatrical Release Date: 1969 (Japan)

Run Time: 86 Minutes


 

Synopsis
Goro (Tetsuya Watari) has always been a lone wolf. When he arrives at an industrial city in Keihin, there is certain restlessness in the air. The Iriezaki family and the Kanto Touyu-kai were in the midst of a territorial dispute. Goro was quick to notice, but had no intent to take sides. At a department store nearby, he sees an elevator lady being harassed by a couple of hoodlums. Goro decides to intervene. Unbeknownst to him, the hoodlums are Touyu-kai members – and the girl has strong ties with the opposing family.
Review

Outlaw: Kill! is the final film in this 6 film set. We find Gorro in another place once again not in Yakuza but still getting mixed up trying to help others leave the clan life. Gorro find him self in-between two feuding clans and he know a few guys on both sides.

Story wise the film was good just like the last film but not like the first film. Action wise we find less action compared to the 5 thy film but we get a nice Knife to an Eye shot and blood spraying a few times. Action can be seen throughout but majority of the action is at the end. Gore is seen but not a ton and I wish we could have gotten more red liquid hitting the ground. This film has a better story line then last film but the action is less. Also this last film seems to fit in no time line compared to the other films as most of them feel the same way except the first two films. Chieko Matsubara is back and once again playing another character but her role isn’t to big in this film.

Overall Outlaw: Kill! Was a good watch and a decent ending to the series. Good action better story and a big brawl makes this film worth the view.

With that said I give this film a 4 out of 5 and it stands up with the other films. If you watch the first film you have to watch them all. Go pick up the set as its worthy to sit on any Japanese film collectors shelf.

 

Trailer

 

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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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