Ginji the Slasher (1995)Director: Takeshi Miyasaka
Starring: Riki Takeuchi, Isao Natsuyagi
Tagline: Old warriors die hard
In a blood-splattered factory in the aftermath of World War II Japan, Ginji (Riki Takeuchi), faces off with his old boss Kuroda having just sliced his way through most of his henchmen. Cut to 50 years later and the old Ginji (Isao Natsuyagi) is released from prison unexpectedly.
He just wants to live a quiet life, but he ends up saving a young man from some local gang members and he is drawn back into his old life. It turns out that Kuroda is still alive and was the one who had him released. Ginji is still angry after all his years in prison and can still kick arse, but he needs to have a sit down afterwards.
While he has been away, Kuroda ended up becoming the Prime Minister of Japan and is still a big man behind the scenes. Ginji on the other hand was almost forgotten and has become an urban legend that kids act out in their playtime.
The story begins to get somewhat muddied as it proceeds as it keeps going back to the 1950s and even the characters keep changing their ages. The menacing 'Ground Spider' is also strange as he turns up when you least expect it and can vanish into thin air at will. How he manages to interact with the characters is a mystery as you are never sure he is actually there.
It is difficult to feel anything for Ginji as he spends most of the film being a selfish arsehole, he does change his tune towards the end but it is too late by then. The young Ginji doesn't get as much screen time, but he does have a large screen presence when he does have scenes. The older Ginji can still hold his own and when he finally gets around to settling his old scores it is one of the best scenes in the movie.
This movie is very violent, but it is not glamorised in this film and it is not the sole focus of the film. Overall I thought it was a very solid story, but there is nothing too remarkable about it. If you are a fan of Yakuza crime stories and the films of Takeshi Miike and Sejin Suzuki and want to see a different take on the genre then I recommend this film.