Spotlight on Japan: Yakuza deka

If there is one word that can perfectly describe Yukio Noda’s Yakuza deka (often translated as Ganster Cop) then it would be random. What begins as a fairly normal story of an undercover cop investigating the yakuza takes a turn for the bizarre as it becomes an incomprehensible stream of action scenes during the second half of the film. What’s even worse is that the film is already utterly bad right after the opening credits are over.

We have two gangsters escaping and then fighting the police, set to a comfy Japanese tune with freezeframes punctuating the cool moves and the names of the cast and crew. This sequence is put together in a solid and captivating way that really tells nothing about the rest of the film. The cinematography becomes more than just a bit amateurish – random zooming in and out of action, nonsensical camera movement and absolutely terrible shot compositions.

The editing is more like an afterthought – there is no rhythm to any scene and the whole film is just like one long climax with virtually no variation in cutting. The problem is not only that: there is no way you will be able to have any sense of space and location that way –  so the film’s setting is simply blurry and unrecognisable.

This blunt and monotonous is as cheap as the film’s writing is: characters come and go, random plot twists come up and the plot is full of holes the makers just assumed the audience to fill out on their own. If the film is supposed to be pure entertainment then I don’t get how one can be entertained by watching Sonny Chiba spit rebellious lines while punching and shooting people in sped-up action scenes, the choreography of which is nearly as silly as the moves in the Turkish Star Wars.

After the first 60 minutes of the 85-minute film are over, it seems as if the screenwriter just gave up and let all of his action fantasies conquer the film: the rest of the film is simply a row of gun fights and chase scenes that don’t really make any sense – at all.

I’m not surprised that the big star Sonny Chiba himself has forgotten everything about this film: it’s simply not worth watching. The only decent thing throughout the film is the soundtrack – and even that comes off as corny occasionally.


About Oz
A Finnish film buff who has taken a huge interest in language and Japanese cinema. Can be contacted via email (, Twitter (@OzymandiasJL) and a Private Message on EvaGeeks (Oz).

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