Classic 1973 Japanese gangster flick, from which four sequels emerged. Kinji Fukasaku’s 'Battles without Honor or Humanity' (Jingi Naki Tatakai) was Japan's answer to The Godfather. Or if you can picture Akira Kurosawa's Nora Inu meets Barry Hindes' Threads filmed by the kids who did The Blair Witch Project.

Starting off in post-war Hiroshima (or what was left of it), the film tracks the story of twenty members of a street gang, each with complicated reasons for joining a gang, and their relationships with one another. Yet unlike other gangster films which suggest that the Yakuza are bound by some kind of moral code, only the lead character Shozo Hirono (played by Bunta Sugawara, who reappears in the sequels) seems to have any idea of fair play. Instead all around him fellow members of the gang backstab and swindle each other when they are not preying on rival gangs or the public. The film makes the point that since the end of the war in the post-apocalyptic ruins, the old code of honor and humanity has disappeared in a dog eat dog world. The film is apparently based on a true story.

The film makes frequent use of wobblyscope in the chaotic action scenes - tumbling and mis-focussing, and introduces the main characters at the start with a still and a subtitle Three Kings-style.

The theme song for 'Battles without Honor or Humanity' was an enka, which legendary Japanese rocker Tomoyasu Hotei added kick-arse rifts and kettle drums to when it appeared on the soundtrack to Kill Bill.

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