Forgotten Action Cinema: Tokyo Fist

Tokyo Fist (1995) Movie PosterYeah, yeah. You got me again. This one isn’t necessarily forgotten, though it is grossly unseen by a large selection of the American population. “Tetuo: The Bullet Man” director Shinya Tsukamoto’s emotionally damaged 1995 masterpiece “Tokyo Fist” is, simply put, a brilliantly executed experimental examination of emotional extremes filtered through the bone-crunching, no-holds-barred Japanese boxing industry. On the surface, Tsukamoto’s tale of love, loneliness, and loose teeth appears to be a visually overwrought action extravaganza, a hopeless salaryman’s take on Scorsese’s “Raging Bull”. Beneath the bleeding bruises and pulsating lumps, however, lies one seriously warped psychological nightmare teeming with over-the-top performances, numerous nervous breakdowns, and some of the craziest violence ever to grace my poor little television screen. Every single character deals with their respective predicament in the most extreme fashion possible; their overblown knee-jerk reactions generally involve crude, unnecessary masochism, culminating in an appropriately foul finale saturated in bloody screams and gore. Naturally, one doesn’t need to analyze and probe and jostle this insanely enjoyable flick in order to find it utterly compelling: there’s plenty of arterial sprays and busted mugs to please those who are just in the mood for something loud, fast, and entirely insane. Beautiful, jarring, unnerving, moving — “Tokyo Fist” is ready and willing to pound you down. If you love Tsukamoto’s work, you owe it to yourself and everyone you know to pick up a copy post-haste. The trailer rests below.