This is the first film I’ve got from Radiance Films. The packaging is amazing and it’s so cool to have that movie be one that has never been released on blu ray before.
Gang boss Arakawa has fallen ill and the new leader must be named. Nakai is an outsider, Matsuda is in jail and only Ishido is suitable. Yet when Matsuda is released from prison, you can only imagine that the internal conflicts will soon grow out of control.
Directed by Kôsaku Yamashita and written by Kazuo Kasahara (Battles Without Honor and Humanity), this is a film about the loyalties and codes of the Yakuza and how when those are tested, friendships are thrown away and bloody vengeance can be the only answer. By the end, Nakai can only say, “Loyalty? To hell with it, I’m just a mean murderer. Nothing more.”
This is actually the fourth film in Toei’s Bakuchi uchi (Gambling Den) series of Yakuza films. You don’t need to see the others to watch this. Yamashita has a resume filled with more violent crime dramas that I can’t wait to dig into after this. And if Matsuda looks familiar, that’s because Tomisaburo Wakayama also played Ogami Ittō in the six Lone Wolf and Cub films and their American remix, Shogun Assassin.
The limited edition Radiance Films release of Big Time Gambling Boss has a high definition digital transfer of the film Serial Gambling, a video essay by Chris D., author of Gun and Sword: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980 on Big Time Gambling Boss‘s origins in the Toei studio’s serialized yakuza movie production and what sets the film apart; Ninkyo 101, a video essay that has Mark Schilling, author of The Yakuza Movie Book, talking about the history and impact of the classical style of yakuza film, the ninkyo eiga or “chivalry films;” a stills gallery, a trailer, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by maarko phntm and a limited edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Stuart Galbraith IV and critic Hayley Scanlon. This limited edition of 2,000 copies has full-height Scanavo packaging with a removable OBI strip leaving the packaging free of certificates and markings. You can get it from MVD.