Boiling Point (1990)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Cast: Masahiko Ono, Yuriko Ishida,
Takahito Iguchi, ‘beat’ Takeshi
An ineffectual garage worker and terrible baseball player Masaki (Masahiko Ono) decides, while receiving abuse from a gangster, that he is going to ditch his passive attitude and take more control of his life and the abusive situations he finds himself in. This retaliation against this gangster sets off a chain of events. Beginning with the teams’ coach Takashi (Takahito Iguchi) an ex gangster himself, being injured while protecting Masaki from the local Yakuza. Masaki practices his bat swing after receiving verbal abuse from his fellow baseball teammates, for his incompetence at the sport. After Takashi is beaten up, Masaki takes off for Okinawa with his teammate Kazuo, to purchase guns to help them exact their revenge against the Yakuza.
While in Okinawa they get mixed up with antagonistic, bisexual, misogynistic, Gangster, Uehara (‘beat’ Takeshi), whom is about to take out his own revenge against the Yakuza, for what was supposed to be the loss of his fingertip.
After spending time with Uehara, who eventually helps them get their hands on an arsenal, they cunningly smuggle the weapons through airport security. Eventually they get home and set about avenging themselves against the Yakuza.
As expected we get the usual contrast of deadpan comedy and violence from Japan’s number one celebrity, Takeshi Kitano. Here as in the rest of his films Takeshi Kitano uses his trademark editing technique, and to brilliant effect as usual.
Like the scene here where he sets up the sale of the motorbike, and the kid, with no license, refuses to wear a helmet, you know what is coming, but all you see is the aftermath. You laugh before you even see it and throughout the rest of the scene. This style of straight cutting like this is used in all Kitano films, and is sometimes used for comedic affect, and sometimes, for showing extreme acts of violence. It works very well, sometimes placing a violent scene side by side with a comedy scene, creating a feeling of unease in the viewer, who may still be laughing from the last scene when he or she is immediately transported into a scene of violence.
This is not really my favourite Kitano film, but even an average Kitano film is better than a lot of other films by so called good filmmakers. And the pure genius of Takeshi Kitano is always welcome viewing, when so much western cinema is, well to be impolite, money making ventures but in terms of entertainment or art, big piles of soggy pants. The films does show an interest in the trials of being young and growing up, which would be explored further and in greater depth in, Kids Return (1997), Takeshi’s first film back after his near fatal motorbike crash, Hana-bi (Fireworks 1998) and the masterpiece Kikujiro (1999).
Still good film viewing, and beat Takeshi, doing anything is always watchable, a strange brand of entertainment, extensively copied by other directors, the most well know of those (unfortunately) being the chinmeister Tarantino, when Takeshi’s, film making style, film content, character formation, and edge, is so much more than Tarantino could hope to be. (Ohhh that’s going to make me popular)!!!!
God the things we dream up when we go to the WC.
Review By Giovanni Pistachio, Giovanni can be contacted at: –