“[This] faithful account of the post-war Japanese underworld is downright fabulous to behold, [and the] lack of humanity [that underpins the narrative] (…) a serene but (…) depressing confrontation with the deregulating nature of man’s enjoyment beyond any heroism whatsoever.”
Kinji Fukasaku (深作欣二, 1930-2003) doesn’t need an introduction. When in the seventies the popularity of the ninkyô eiga started to decline, it was Fukasaku who revived the Yakuza genre with his realistic approach, leading to the birth of the sub-genre of actual record film (Jitsuroku eiga). Supported by the meticulous research by Kasahara Kazuo, Fukasaku aimed to capture the turbulent story of various prominent, post-WW2 Hiroshima yakuza families.
“[Battles proves to be] one of the most gripping and enthralling yakuza narratives ever made [and lets the spectator] enjoy the struggles [beyond any kind of heriosm] of the warring yakuza families of post-war Hiroshima”
If one hears or reads the name of Kinji Fukasaku (深作欣二, 1930–2003), one irresistibly associates it with yakuza eiga – even though he tried his hand at other genres like the jidai-geki genre and ended his career with grossly entertaining Battle Royal (2000). The association with yakuza-eiga is, of course, no surprise at all. When, in the seventies, the popularity of the Toei’s formulaic ninkyô eiga [chivalry eiga] started to decline, it was the realistic approach, an approach he already used in the sixties, of Battles withouthonour and humanity that pioneered the Jitsuroku eiga sub-genre[actual record films].