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Review: Cops vs Thugs (Arrow Video)

Cops vs. Thugs

Starring: Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsukata
Directed: Kinji Fukasaku
Studio: Arrow Video
Format:  Blu-Ray
Disc Release Date: May 23, 2017



Considered by many to be director Kinji Fukasaku’s greatest single-film achievement in the yakuza genre, Cops vs Thugs was made at the height of popularity of Toei Studios’ jitsuroku boom: realistic, modern crime movies based on true stories taken from contemporary headlines. Returning to the screen after completing their Battles Without Honor and Humanity series together, Fukasaku joined forces once again with screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara, composer Toshiaki Tsushima and star Bunta Sugawara to create one of the crowning achievements of his career, and a hard-boiled classic which is still ranked as one of the best Japanese films of the 1970’s.

It’s 1963 in the southern Japanese city of Kurashima, and tough-as-nails detective Kuno (Sugawara) oversees a detente between the warring Kawade and Ohara gangs. Best friends with Ohara lieutenant Hirotani (Hiroki Matsukata), he understands that there are no clear lines in the underworld, and that everything is colored a different shade of gray. But when random violence interrupts the peace and an ambitious, by-the-books lieutenant (Tatsuo Umemiya) comes to town, Kuno’s fragile alliance begins to crumble. Greedy bosses and politicians alike seize the opportunity to wipe out their enemies, and Kuno faces the painful choice of pledging allegiance to his badge and keeping a promise to his brother.

Echoing the great crime films of Sidney Lumet and Jean-Pierre Melville, in Fukasaku’s world, there’s no honor among thieves or lawmen alike, and the only thing that matters is personal honor and duty among friends. Kasahara’s shattering screenplay and Fukasaku’s dynamic direction support an all-star, ensemble cast to create one of the most exciting, and deeply moving films about cops and criminals ever made.


My Review:

Cops vs Thugs is a Crime Drama Action film Directed by Kinji Fukasaku and is Considered to be his best work of art. The Film Deals with two Crime Family’s, Cops and Corruption of Cops. The Film Revolves around a Detective caught in the middle who also Knows a few Members of the Crime Family’s so he is in and out of between what wrong and right. There are no Clear lines in this film and things get crazy when the family’s and cops throw down.

The Story was a great follow filled with good-looking action and at times good amount of gore. The Story dives into two Yakuza Family’s and the police so you see every side. The Acting was great and what helps the film a lot is the way its shot. Great looking camera work and the Score also brings in another element of enjoyably. We do get some nudity, The action is pretty realistic along with the gory portions of knife fights and heads rolling off bodies.

Overall the film was a great follow. The Blu-Ray looked great with good colors and sharp detail. If your into Japanese Cinema dealing with Yakuza, Crime, Gore, action and a great story you should pick this up. It Needs to be in your collection.

With that said I give this Film a 4.5 out of 5. Every thing was just about perfect here. The acting, story line and combined with the Camera work makes this film pretty enjoyable.




  • High Definition digital transfer
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Beyond the Film: Cops vs Thugs, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane
  • A new visual essay on cops & criminals in Fukasaku’s works by film scholar Tom Mes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Patrick Macias


About Masked Avenger

CEO/Webmaster of 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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