Friday, January 23, 2015

A Colt Is My Passport - 1967

Well, it may have taken me a few days, longer than my intention, but I did finish A Colt Is My Passport. This 1967 Japanese black and white film was part of the Nikkatsu Noir boxset that Criterion released a while ago, and I have now seen two of the films on that set, this along with I Am Waiting.

I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Japanese.  I think I am not alone here, there seems to be a sort of reverence for Japanese culture in the west.  Maybe it's the way that they have single-handedly dominated technology, maybe it's a sort of a tribute to the country that we bombed, who knows.  All I know is that from as long as I can remember back, I have wanted to go to Japan, and had a strong interest in Japanese culture and films.

I know I've been reviewing silly, cult, unknown of, new, various whatever films, but a part of my blog here definitely going to be including serious films.  The sort of films that I actually like.  Now, I love a good hack and slash, a good grindhouse, a good trashy 80's movie as much as the next guy, but I'm talking about actually like, real movies.  With you know, something called talent that went into them.  Additionally, I have changed my blog's name.  Yes, it used to be "another movie reviews blog"  and now it is "another movies reviews blog".  Why?  Because FUCK to the English language!  Hahahahahahahaha!   Okay, just wanted to say that.  Moving on.

A Colt Is My Passport, being compared to I Am Waiting in my mind because that the other Nakkatsu film I saw, is a little bit of a disappointment.  Not to say that I think it's bad.  It's interesting to see this interpretation of a gangster film, but I find that it's a lot of guys doing things that don't really matter, people acting in ways that are maybe unrealistic and they're only doing that to fit the plot....

Essentially, the plot is that two rival gangs are at war.  One gang hires the main character, Kamimura, to assassinate an important figure in the other gang.  He kills the man, and is immediately sent into hiding by the gang that hired him.  The rival gang is out for revenge and tries to catch Kamimura, to no avail.  Then, seemingly for no real reason, the two gangs make peace.  Their only catch?  They want Kamimura.  So the gang that hired him AND the rival gang are now out for Kamimura.

It's a good enough plot, it works, but it's a little bit too easy.  Since the movie is not dialogue heavy, we are forced to just accept that everything happens has a reason.  I guess you could say you're supposed to suspend reality, just like every film, but I think since there's a lot of empty pointless shots in the film, maybe they could've spent some of that time explaining things and having reasons for things.  I know people will disagree with me.  Maybe it's just that I really liked I Am Waiting, and this one was in my opinion not as good.  It also contains one of those things I hate specifically about Japanese movies:  people are talking, saying not so nice things about a person that one of the women cares about.  Without any explanation or build up, the woman will then scream, ridiculously loud, about how they're all "Idiots!" or they "Don't understand" and then she'll charge out of the room and collapse crying in the next room.  Ugh.  Seen it too many times! It's overacting, it's unrealistic, and now it's cliche!  Christ, it even happens in the original Godzilla.

Another minor gripe - Kamimura is played by actor Shishido Jo.  And WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with his cheeks?!!

 I literally had to Google it, read it on Wikipedia, read interviews with him, I had to know, and discovered he got plastic INFLATE HIS CHEEKS?!!  WHY??  He looks ridiculous!

Bullwinkle?  This is Rocky!  Come in!

This is incredibly distracting for me.  It's to the point where it actually takes away form the film, in my opinion.  I should also state that it's not like he is in the least overweight.  So it looks like maybe he was trying to be a heavier-set looking guy...without actually being heavy set?  WHAT?  Again, some people are going to think this is not a problem.  But for me, this was a big problem.  Just like casting an actor who say, has no ear.  You just keep looking at it.  Maybe if it is made into a plot point, made into part of the story, it's understandable.  But this is just a weird WTF thing that took away from my enjoyment of the film.

I'll still recommend it.  The ending, the pay off, is good.  Lots of tense preparation scenes and a super cool looking location make it a great pay off.  However, just like some of those other movies where the ending seems too well scripted, I had this feeling the entire time like "yeah great plan...except if the guys did ONE thing different, it wouldn't have worked".  Like somehow Kamimura knows EXACTLY what the enemies will do, when they'll do it, and how.  

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