(Movie Review by Bill Paterson) Upon viewing the two films following “Shinjuku Triad Society”, it became clear to me that this is not exactly a trilogy. Not anymore than, say, three wacky ’80s movies starring those Corey tools would be a trilogy.
Search out alternative opinions on the “Black Society Trilogy” and you’ll get lots of esoteric manure positing the theory that these films are somehow inextricably linked. Like, “the three films share a theme of alienation in the lonely Asian underworld”. Yeah, right. And there are weapons of mass destruction lying on every street corner in Baghdad.
Look, the fact is, ArtsMagic took three of the roughly 8,000 films Miike made in the last ten years and packaged ‘em up to make a boxed set. Simple as that. Nothing to be ashamed of. No need to search for some grand vision. Just as long as you know going in that the films really have nothing intentionally in common.
Now, as for the second film in the set, I must admit I don’t know what the hell a “Rainy Dog” is. But he might as well have called it “Rabid Dog”, because this yarn about a criminal named Yuji (Sho Aikawa) living in Taiwan bites hard and doesn’t let go.
If you want to feel better about your own miserable existence, spend a little time with this poor wretch and you’ll be clicking your heels on the way to the proctologist tomorrow. Yuji slogs through a dreary life of isolation that you wouldn’t wish on Martha Stewart.
One day, the gloomy assassin has his door further darkened when an old flame stops by to chat, and is kind enough to dump their lovechild on him as a parting gift. The lad’s name is Chen, and he could break your heart. I mean, mom’s a tramp, dad’s a hitman, neither one wants him — and it just never, ever stops raining on him.
Then some other things happen and the movie ends.
Okay, there’s a little more to it than that. But that’s all I want to tell you. I think this the kind of movie you need to experience for yourself. Really, why are you reading my opinion when you could go watch all the dreariness and mayhem firsthand? Go!
Well, whoever’s still reading, you should know that Yuji doesn’t abruptly shed his killer’s skin and become Ward Cleaver. He’s not exactly thrilled about having young Chen chained to his hip. Let’s just say a parenting class or two at the local community center might have been helpful. Failing that, though, Yuji works through this life-altering event in his own inimitable way. And he eventually seems to warm up to the idea of having a family of his own.
But you Miike-philes know that it can’t be that easy. There’s more in store for our sort-of-hero, and definitely for the viewer.
So, for the last time, go watch this movie. And then hit the Nixflix forum and tell us what you think.
Takashi Miike (director) / Seigo Inoue (screenplay)
CAST: Sho Aikawa …. Yuuji