7.4/10
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7 user 3 critic

Sympathy for the Underdog (1971)

Bakuto gaijin butai (original title)
A yakuza gang gets driven out of Yokohama by a big gang from Tokyo. They relocate to Okinawa to violently start over.

Director:

Kinji Fukasaku
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kôji Tsuruta ... Gunji
Tomisaburô Wakayama ... Yonabaru - Koza downtown boss
Tsunehiko Watase Tsunehiko Watase
Akiko Kudô Akiko Kudô
Kenji Imai Kenji Imai ... Mad Dog Jiro
Harumi Sone Harumi Sone
Tôru Yuri Tôru Yuri
Asao Uchida Asao Uchida
Hideo Murota Hideo Murota
Keijirô Morozumi Keijirô Morozumi ... Gushken
Keiichi Kitagawa Keiichi Kitagawa
Hiroshi Hasegawa Hiroshi Hasegawa
Shôken Sawa Shôken Sawa
Kaku Takashina Kaku Takashina
Takashi Hio Takashi Hio
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Storyline

A yakuza gang gets driven out of Yokohama by a big gang from Tokyo. They relocate to Okinawa to violently start over.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

12 January 1971 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Gambler: Foreign Opposition See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toei Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Yonabaru - Koza downtown boss: You Daitokai's guard dog? Let me warn you. You better cut the crap and get the fuck back to the mainland. Otherwise, it's gonna start raining blood around here.
Shigeru Kaizu: Wow. You're up to all that?
Yonabaru - Koza downtown boss: You tellin' me I'm not? Try pulling that monkey business parading around town again tomorrow. I swear to God I'll bust it up with a bazooka.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Yakuza Eiga, une histoire du cinéma yakuza (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Brand new to the genre
10 February 2005 | by foalSee all my reviews

This film was sitting among the "New Releases" at the videostore. Got it, watched it, liked it. Also seen enough to suit my taste. Don't need to get into Yakuza (Japanese organized crime) films along with everything else in life. BUT Sympathy for the Underdog is very good movie making and I feel fortunate for having happened on to it.

If Yakuza films are anything like their predecessors, Samurai movies, the genre is huge and varied. In this one from 1971, director Kinji Fukusaki tells the story of a Yakuza boss getting out of jail. All his trappings of power are gone. All he's got are his brains and some very loyal friends.

Among the Extras on the DVD I rented, there are excerpts of an interview with the Director's biographer, a man named Sadao Yamane. It's a very informative interview, where he explains the rise of the organized crime genre. Post World War II Japan began in chaos. Those who could leave the past behind and exploit the present tense could rise to power. The protagonist of Sympathy for the Underdog had been there, done that. Now he has to do it all over again.

While the genre must be very formulaic, there's got to be room for fresh takes. Fukusaku's s style consists of quick takes: the dialogue is curt, information is conveyed in a multimedia of ways; the editing is very tight. And then came a big surprise for me. Towards the end, a moment of genuine tenderness poetically expressed. That's when I heard the quality of writing in this film.

So let's just say Sympathy for the Underdog helped define the art of its type. If you like movies about the world of men, this one's well worth watching.


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