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The Independent Critic

Jo Shishido, Tatsuya Fuji, Jiro Okazaki
Yasuharu Hasebe
Yasuharu Hasebe, Ryuzo Nakanishi
91 Mins.
Arrow Video

 "Massacre Gun" Arrives on DVD/Blu-ray on April 7th 

Massacre Gun, a 1967 yakuza classic starring genre icon Jo Shishido, is getting a fantastic new limited editing Blu-ray release on April 7th from Arrow Film & Video. With only 3,000 copies to be printed, Massacre Gun is on Blu-ray for the first time in the world utilizing its original uncompressed mono PCM audio and newly translated English subtitles.

As has been customary with Arrow, the distributor has included a wealth of extras including:

  • A Brand new interview with star Jo Shishido
  • An interview with renowed critic and historian Tony Rayns
  • The original theatrical trailer
  • A gallery featuring rare promotional images
  • A reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
  • And a booklet featuring new writing on the film by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, newly illustrated by Ian MacEwan and featuring original archival stills.

Co-written and directed by Seijun Suzuki's former assistant Yasuharu Hasebe, Massacre Gun is a beautiful case of style and substance meeting one another, with Jo Shishido terrific as Kuroda, a mob hitman who turns on his employer after being forced to execute his lover. Kuroda joins forces with his similarly wronged brothers including Eiji (Tatsuya Fuji) and Saburo (Jiro Okazaki). They stop at nothing to exact their revenge, and it's clear that none of this is going to end until one faction is victorious.

Kazue Nagatsuka's lensing is gorgeous in monochrome, while Naozumi Yamamoto's original music is pulsating and electrifyingly in tune with the film's memorably edited sequences. There are times it's hard to believe that the film was originally shot in 1967, it's violence more intense and graphic than one might expect from a film nearly 50 years old.

For more information on the film and its upcoming limited release, visit the Arrow website linked to in the credits on the left.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic