Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Film Review: Violent Cop (1989)

Violent Cop (Review)
Japan/1989
Format Viewed for Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

" It has some plot and pacing issues, but it is also dark and entertaining."

A violent police officer becomes entangled in a drug scandal when he discovers his colleague is trafficking drugs.

Violent Cop follows Azuma (Takeshi Kitano), a shoot-first-ask-questions-later type of cop. The first half of the film essentially develops Azuma and the cast of characters. It slowly builds on the main plot—the drug trafficking—but it's mostly focused on character. And that's fine for the most part. After the first act, it starts to build up. Azuma discovers a colleague is aiding the yakuza by handing over drugs. And, when that colleague mysteriously dies, Azuma pushes forward with his investigation head-first. He won't be stopped by laws or other cops. He'll serves justice the old-fashioned way. It leads to a strong ending.


Violent Cop is a great police drama/character study. From the beginning, it sets a dark tone and develops its unique characters. Particularly, it creates a fascinating character in Azuma. He's aggressive, violent, and insubordinate, but he's also likeable, charming, and funny. Speaking of humor, yes, there is some dark humor sprinkled onto this film. I liked that touch. This isn't an action-packed shoot 'em up, but it does have some exciting action scenes. The final act was very tense and exciting. The pace can be a little too slow at times and there are some dull moments in the plot. It's a 100-minute film, but it feels longer. It's disappointing, but it doesn't completely spoil the film.

Takeshi Kitano performed well as Azuma. He perfectly fit the macho-but-likeable character. The supporting cast was also great. The film was shot beautifully. The cinematography and the camerawork were good. The music was great, although I prefer Kitano's collaborations with Joe Hisaishi a bit more. The film was written by Takeshi Kitano and Hisashi Nozawa; Kitano also directs. The story, despite some issues, was good. The direction was also stylish and effective. This was Kitano's debut and it was impressive.

Overall, Violent Cop is a very good movie. It has some plot and pacing issues, but it is also dark and entertaining. It tackles its subject without pussy-footing. It's a great film for fans of the crime genre.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sex.

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