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Unlucky Monkey (1998)

Anrakkî monkî (original title)
Yamazaki has spent a lot of time plotting a robbery of a local bank, but when he actually gets to the bank he finds another robber escaping with the money. Through an improbable chain of ... See full summary »


SABU (as Sabu)


SABU (as Sabu)


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Stars: Ryûhei Matsuda, Hitomi, Masanobu Andô


Credited cast:
Shin'ichi Tsutsumi ... Yamazaki
Hiroshi Shimizu Hiroshi Shimizu
Akira Yamamoto Akira Yamamoto ... Matsui
Ikkô Suzuki Ikkô Suzuki ... Kaneda (as Ikko Suzuki)
Kimika Yoshino Kimika Yoshino ... Miki Yoshida (victim of stabbing)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yôzaburô Itô Yôzaburô Itô ... Company Member at public hearing
Akaji Maro ... Hobo
Naomasa Musaka Naomasa Musaka ... Angry citizen
Toshie Negishi ... Angry citizen
Ren Osugi ... Tachibana (as Ren Ôsugi)
SABU ... Bank Robber
Manzô Shinra Manzô Shinra
Tomorô Taguchi ... Miyata, Killer
Yôji Tanaka Yôji Tanaka ... Member of citizen convention


Yamazaki has spent a lot of time plotting a robbery of a local bank, but when he actually gets to the bank he finds another robber escaping with the money. Through an improbable chain of events Yamazaki gets hold of the money and during a panicked escape accidentally kills an innocent girl.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Comedy


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Release Date:

18 July 1998 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Unlucky Monkey See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shochiku See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Ichi the Killer (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Man, the Unlucky Monkey, runs a dramatic gauntlet
17 February 2005 | by OskadoSee all my reviews

I'm far from an expert on Japanese films, so my ideas here are probably sophomoric, but here's my view. The film interweaves two main story lines, each fate-driven to collide with a host of peripheral dramas or mini-universes: an environmentalist meeting, a bum in an alleyway, a cocktail waitress on her way home, a professional hit-man hallucinating in a park, a family on its way to cemetery, etc. And each intersection of the main story lines with themselves, or with the peripheral story lines correlates to some specific dramatic style or phase: tragedy, melodrama, Chaplin-esque slapstick, crime thriller, philosophic, and, in the end, Twilight Zonish (or "Return of the Mummy"-ish). Afterall, the "unlucky monkey" is all humanity.

Each flip from one style or phase to the next is transitioned - unfortunately so, to my taste - not by a fade or short black-screen, but by a very excessive stop- or slow-motion study of some ultimate moment. These transitions so wore on my patience that I pressed fast-forward to escape. But even in fast-forward, I found them annoyingly long and static.

In imposing those transitions on us poor viewers, as though infatuated with what he thought some original and arty technique, the director was frankly destructively self-indulgent and probably deaf to whatever free-minded advisers he had during editing. I can't imagine another monkey on this planet with patience enough to sit through them - unless intended as mini-intermissions for making a few phone calls, mixing some lemonade and making some popcorn before returning.

With very little editing, this could have been a really good flick. Acting, scenery and artistic direction are good, and the environmentalist meeting sequence is among the most hilarious I've ever seen.

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