The Triple Cross (1992)
Director Kinji Fukusaku
Cast Sonny Chiba, Kenichi Hagiwara
Kazuya Kimura, Keiko Oginome

Three, “I’m getting too old for this shit” type bank robbers decide to call it a day.  But then a young hotheaded rock club owner with a cash flow problem tells them about a simple job with a substantial payoff.  Each has their own reason for doing it and the actual heist goes easy. Unfortunately the substantial payoff isn’t that substantial after all.  Arguments break out until one of the old codgers is dead and the other two, left for dead while the young club owning scamp runs off with all the money.  Then the film lives up to its title and winds its way to its death and destruction conclusion.

This is a heist movie (mostly), and what normally happens in heist movies, happens in this heist movie.  What happens in a heist movie?  It goes wrong of course.  What follows is a double cross, a triple cross (hence the title, how astute of me, huh?) and a quadruple cross.  It might be more than that, it might be less.  I gave up trying to keep count.  I would have missed the film if I had. Most of the main characters die (not a plot revelation, folks, it comes with the territory of heist movies).

Sounds quite boring doesn’t it?  Well to an extent it is.  But being from Japan, it has an energy that Yankee movies just don’t have. Unfortunately this energy is severely diluted by the fact that it doesn’t know what the hell it is.  Is it a heist movie?  Is it an action movie?  Or is it an honour amongst thieves’ fable?  I dunno, but it tries to be all three.  The heists are unexciting, the action scenes are perfunctory (except for a car chase at the conclusion of the film where a car drives over, what seems to be, every police car in Japan) and the honour amongst thieves motif is lost, found, lost.  You get the idea.  Also the lead female character is played so hyper actively and so loudly, she gets on your tits, fast.  And she lasts throughout the whole movie.  Damn. She lowers the tone of the film, which it doesn’t need.

It’s an OK film, instantly forgettable and that’s not a good thing.  Being new to Japanese exploitation cinema, it took me a while to realise that the director of this recently gave us the totally bonkers Battle Royale (2000).  So you see you can learn from your mistakes.

Review By Martainn Russell.
© Owned Martainn Russell 19/04/02 18:40:06



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