In a world where killers are ranked, all snipers have their scopes focused on one another. Hanada is a gun-for-hire listed as the No.3 hitman of the underworld. He successfully takes out two of his rivals during a job, securing his position as No. 2. But when he fumbles with his career, he becomes the target.
No particular excuses are needed to watch this unique and well-known masterpiece again on screen. However, this new and excellent digital restoration (with black-and-white colors that seem impossible to reproduce in today's movies) is enough reason to watch it again. It is also an opportunity to re-read SUZUKI Seijun, who took advantage of all essential ingredients of this genre of cinema to deconstruct it, attempting to convert a cinematic genre into a formal essay. This film features a standard killer and crime story plus an improv by master jazz players. Characters go by numbers; they are obsessed with femmes fatales and cannot avoid encountering their foes who once were their best allies. However, even at the moments when the form would stand out and oppress the story, the genre staple elements such as violence, sex, humor, and a fetish for the smell of freshly cooked rice remain in place. That's why Branded to Kill is still one of the most fantastic yakuza films ever. (Sung MOON)
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