Crime, we are informed, does not pay. That is not the case if you are a film studio or in corporate fraud however. There are lots of Yakuza and Japanese gangster films. This Gendai Yakuza (modern Yakuza film) is among the best. Tom Mes runs through a whole list in his commentary that do not measure up. They were often successful and prove the point that they make a shed load of money in the cinema. The reason for that success could be attributed to actor Sugawara Bunta. His personality and embodiment of criminality, saw him star in a huge wave of gangster films. It could also be due to director Kinji Fukasaku. A skilled exploitation film director who used visual troupes from horror and canted angles from noir.
Street Mobster could be seen as a gangster film convention. It has the classic disorderly hero. Here called Okita Isamu (and played by the aforementioned Bunta). He has been to jail, now out he wants a slice of the crime pie. It also has a gangsters moll, with anger boiling at the surface and violence a second away. Her name is Kimiyo (played by Mayumi Nagisa) and he not only raped her but abused her, yet still she stays. There are the territory wars, between two fractions (one ran by Isamu and a longtime gangster called Kizaki (Noboru Ando). When they begin to disrupt the local gangs turf, politics ensues. The controlling clan step in and offer a solution for everyone. Street Mobster earns its spurs with a clever enough blend of personality and production value. Its actually in the look of the film that makes it so exceptional. How? Well it plays with form. It often has interior scenes shot in deep darkness or under lit and only single lit sources. Events happen but are conception of this is sporadic. It makes the scenes more energetic and the viewing enriching. Sometimes they are lit by flashing harsh coloured lights or counter posed with bright exterior daytime scenes. These add textures of the squalor of gangster-ism.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS High Definition (1080p)
Blu-ray presentation Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
Optional English subtitles Audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes
Theatrical trailer Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writting on the film by Jasper Sharp