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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Colt Wa Ore No Passport (aka A Colt Is My Passport) (1967)

A professional hit man (the chipmunk faced Joe Shishido) and his less experienced sidekick (Jerry Fujio) find themselves betrayed by the very mobsters that hired Shishido to assassinate the head of a rival gang when the son of the slain man agrees to a uniting of both gangs under the condition that the man who killed his father is himself killed. Takashi Nomura's compact action film is most often referred to as Japanese noir but it seems more like a western transposed to contemporary Japan. For example, Harumi Ibe's terrific score cleverly incorporates jazz along with a homage to the spaghetti western scores of Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai and the final gunfight is set up like a showdown at the O.K. corral. The film's finale is something of a washout, not the least because the bad guys couldn't hit a target if it were right in front of their nose. Still, up to then, it's very well done and Shigeyoshi Mine's crisp B&W wide screen images are impressive. With the sad eyed Chitose Kobayoshi as the unlucky barmaid who falls for Shishido.

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