Japanese superstar "Beat" Takeshi Kitano was best known as a comedian and talk-show host when he was cast as brutal police detective Azuma in Violent Cop, but the career-changing twist occurred when the original director ... more »dropped out and Kitano took the helm. Half a dozen pictures later, Kitano has carved out one of the most idiosyncratic careers in Japanese cinema, and it all springs from this edgy, explosive crime classic. Azuma is a cop who plays by his own rules: He batters suspects, beats confessions from criminals, and plants evidence. He's a vigilante force the department quietly supports as long as he gets results, but when a volatile drug case results in the death of a colleague, the hair-trigger cop goes rogue as he matches wits with an equally impulsive assassin. Kitano's big teddy bear eyes and soft features maintain a calm, almost bemused expression even in his most violent moments: a Zen "Dirty" Harry with a deadpan sense of humor. For a first-time director, Kitano displays astonishing cinematic control, creating a style of long takes and serene tranquility shattered by startling explosions of gunfire and abrupt blows. It's a violent world in which adolescents attack beggars and grade-school kids pelt bystanders with garbage and insults, but Kitano also shows a tender, caring side ultimately swallowed by the unleashed anger. Ironic, grim, and focused to a mesmerizing intensity, Violent Cop is one of the great Japanese crime films and a brilliant debut. --Sean Axmaker« less
"Few have sampled the delights of Kitano's films, but for those of you who have, there is no need to continue reading this review. However, if your new to Kitano's films, or Japanese films in general then all I can say is, buy this without hesitation. Often gruelling, but most definitely engrossing, Violent Cop follows the story of a cop, played by Kitano, who is prone to bouts of severe violence against those who he despises in society. The fact that he works as a cop allows him to meet many of these sorts of people and he never hesitates to start kicking, and perhaps, ask a few questions later. His violent temper does not remain in hiding for the criminals of Japan, but is also unleashed against a man that has a one night stand with his sister. As the film progresses, Kitano'character, Azuma, discovers some shady goings on within the police force which cause grief extremely close to home. Now, if you are not a fan of violent films then I suggest you do not purchase this title as it contains shocking scenes that remain with you well after the film has finished. If you are willing to take the plunge then you will be rewarded with film making at its very best. Kitano's films are subdued to a point that may annoy the more impatient among us, infact alot of people have labeled Kitano's films Art House, which I would disagree with. This film, and all his others, deserve much greater recognition and respect. Do yourself a favour and buy this now. End of Days fans need not apply."
Violent indeed, and very funny.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 01/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Beat" Takeshi Kitano's movies aren't so much about story as comic situations, a mix of horror, humour and pathos (a tone later appropriated by Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction), and characters whose unmoving consistency tends to lead them to tragedy.Violent Cop is the most accessible of his films I've seen so far, with strangely staged but compelling action sequences (witness the white-knuckle knife-in-hand scene), some perfectly timed physical comedy, and more of Kitano onscreen than, say, Boiling Point. Though seemingly stiff, Kitano's persona is actually perfect for his movies and the more he writes himself into the story the stronger the movie tends to be.Violent Cop, like many of his other films, has an extremely languid pace that you'll simply have to accept if you're going to accept this movie on its own terms. But the rewards are many: The final plot twist (including a hilarious familiar low-angle frame of his partner walking down the street); kicking at the man who slept with his mentally disturbed sister; playing video games; a strange car chase."
Grittier Than Some, More Contemplative Than Most
Miguel B. Llora | Bay Point, California USA | 12/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps not the best of Takeshi Kitano's movies (I have to admit to preference for Hana-Bi on many levels) but this is by far the grittiest of Takeshi's work. In his directorial debut, famous Japanese television comedian Takeshi Kitano (more commonly known as `Beat' Takeshi) plays Azuma, a brutal but honorable cop who runs out of patience - a Dirty Harry of sorts. Azuma's stifling daily routine necessitates him dealing with - among other things - a naive new partner as well as taking care of, mentally challenged sister. Azuma reaches his breaking point when a fellow cop is killed and drug dealers take prisoner his sister. It is time to take matters in his own hands and Azuma begins taking a different approach - vengeful course that crescendo in a shocking finale. AS mentioned previously, Violent Cop is a startling first feature from Kitano, who replaced director Kinji Fukasaku. First and foremost a television comedian, Kitano allegedly reworked the script to better suit his dark mis-en-scene visualization of the film. This turn of events serves an absorbing introduction to his one of its kind directorial style. Kitano intermixes scenes of intense violence with beautifully contemplative shots - as is evidenced in Hana-Bi aka Fireworks and Boiling Point (both also available on Amazon.com). Notches above in the yakuza genre by adding a contemplative twist, Kitano's films are signposts in 20th century Japanese cinema.
One of the 10 best of Modern Japanese Film
matthew eric henkel | pittsburgh, pa United States | 06/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Darkly humourous, Violent Cop (Sono Otoko Kyobo Ni Tsuki) is the story of an abusive detective named Azuma, as he goes head to head with a rogue member of a tokyo organized crime family. Not for the faint hearted, Violent Cop, is not a hollywood type story, it is depressing and deeply symbolic - very japanese/eurpoean in the flavour of its pathos. Highly recommended for those who appreciate good film."
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 06/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An interesting note in the annals of contemporary Japanese film history is that Kitano Takeshi's first film was not originally supposed to have been directed by him, but by the noted director Fukasaku Kinji who is famous for his yakuza and anti-war films. Kitano, known better by his stage name Beat Takeshi and better known for his television work than his film work, took the director's helm after Fukasaku became ill and heavily changed the script turning Violent Cop into a film that challenged viewers' expectations instead of the formulaic fare originally intended by Fukasaku and his scriptwriter Nozawa Hisashi.
Violent Cop revolves around the shambling, hard-as-nails presence of Azuma, a police officer who has few qualms about using his great strength and cold nature to hunt down drug dealers, muggers, and thieves and force them to submit to the law. As evident in the opening scene in which Azuma beats up a teenager who has just returned home after assaulting a homeless man, no one is safe from Azuma if he feels that the law has been challenged. However, Azuma does have one weakness: his baby sister who suffers from a mental handicap and with who Azuma is as gentle as he is violent with criminals. The only individuals with whom Azuma shows the least bit friendliness are with his co-worker Iwaki and his partner Kikuchi, a rookie policeman who is a stickler for the rules and rankles a bit at Azuma's brutal nature. Things seem to be going decently well for Azuma when his sister is released from the hospital, but when evidence surfaces that yakuza drug dealing activity is enmeshed within the police department itself, things quickly go downhill for Azuma, and all his troubles coalesce into the form of Kiyohiro, a homosexual yakuza assassin who is every bit as violent as Azuma himself.
The Japanese title for Violent Cop is Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki which translates loosely to This Man is Wild or This Man is Violent. The title was created not only to describe vividly the characteristics of Azuma, but of Kitano Takeshi himself. In 1986, a tabloid magazine printed by the publishing giant Kodansha published a series of reports describing an affair Kitano was supposedly having outside of his marriage. Thanks to this, Kitano and a number of members of his comic troupe stormed into Kodansha and physically assaulted five individuals which led to the popular view that Kitano was a violent man.
Feeding on the popular image of himself being violent, Kitano created a film filled to the brim with violence and excised all traces of humanity within Nozawa's script. Instead, the viewer is given a film without a trace of humaneness and one that delves into violence so deep that everyone involved is nearly destroyed."