No these are not screen shots from the latest Neo Noir thriller of today but images from 1964 Japanese picture CRUEL GUN STORY. A stylistic heist film made in response to the coming “Spy Craze” ignited by DR NO (1963) and the subsequent ending of the Classic Film Noir cycle in the early fifties. This picture was directed by Takumi Furukaw who was influence Sejuin Suzuki to spin out his wonderful TOKYO DRIFTER (1966) and and BRANDED TO KILL (1967).
These pictures all feature fast editing, action, gun play and girls some like the Suzuki films is brilliant colors. There were not well received in their native country when made and did cost Suzuki his career there which was later restarted with more conservative fare.
CRUEL GUN STORY features lead actor Joe Shishido who recruits various unsavory types to perform a bank heist involving the stealing of an armored vehicle. Flashing guns, fist fights (although some unconvincing) abound. What is a highlight is the good use of light and space in the composed shots even something as simple as gravel on a highway flying up.
Joe Shishido was a “non descript” leading man in the industry at the time who had an operation to augment his facial cheeks for more menace and distinction. The idea worked and he went on very long career in film and Television is Japan including the already mention BRANDED TO KILL (1967)
For an action difference that lead to the creation of the ‘Hong Kong cool” of Chow Yun Fat, Jackie Chan and Tony Leung why not enjoy this high octane blasts.