Another Lonely Hitman

"OK"

Another Lonely Hitman Review


It ain't easy being a killer. Between the late nights, the wacked-out whores, and the constant pressure from unreasonable bosses, it's enough to drive a guy to drugs. Fortunately, 10 years in the slammer eliminates pretty much all of these problems.

Newly released from a decade in prison, Tachibana (Ryo Ishibashi) is a new man living by an old code. While the jail time has cleared his mind and bloodstream, his conscience still aches from the memory of his past acts. Meanwhile, the world has changed in his absence. The bosses he so faithfully served time for have forgotten the old ways of the yakuza, abandoning their honor in the pursuit of money. Corruption now pervades the crime family to which he has dedicated his life. Drugs now rule the street.

Disgusted by the degeneration of those he had always respected, Tachibana finds himself out of touch with the only family he has known. And when he falls in love with a junkie prostitute he barely knows, he risks everything to reclaim a life of honor and respect -- for himself and his new lover.

Rokuro Mochizuki's Another Lonely Hitman is a strangely affectionate noir about the ever-widening schism between the ideal of an honor-bound Japanese culture and the encroaching reality of a world run by money, greed, and self-service. With a smart, charming cast and dynamic pacing, Hitman builds a compelling world out of an otherwise overdone storyline and a mediocre script.

Though director Mochizuki's resume of noir blockbusters should denote experience enough to avoid such disasters, maddeningly obvious plot blunders nearly destroy the film. The problem lies mostly in the occasional voice-overs by Ishibashi, which repeatedly contradict various and sundry established plot elements, nuking the movie's credibility at its foundation. For example, the narrative informs us that the hit for which Tachibana is imprisoned is his first and that he first shot up in preparation for the hit. But when he's released from prison we're led to believe that he's a hardened old-school hitman and ex-junkie. The glaring inconsistency rides the film like a horseman of doom, never letting go of the bridle, and even as the movie closes it's hard to accept all that has been presented as a single cohesive story.

Cunning acting by Ryo Ishibashi and Asami Sawaki overcomes the burden of Hitman's dead and discombobulated dialog. Ishibashi commands the screen like a young Brando, brooding belligerently at the ruin of his life and doling out retribution on those he both pities and despises.

What Another Lonely Hitman lacks in its script it makes up for in camera work. While occasionally trending toward the amateur and gimmicky -- or even fetishistically pornographic, including a repellent shot of Ishibashi puking directly onto the lens and an open-legged view of Asami Sawaki peeing her panties -- Hitman is an interesting study in experimental cinematography. Ultimately, these scenes may be the picture's only memorable moments, not unlike the butter scene in Last Tango in Paris.

Lovers of Japanese yakuza noir may find Another Lonely Hitman worth adding to their Netflix queues, but it's hardly a compelling contribution to the genre.

Aka Shin kanashiki hittoman.



Another Lonely Hitman

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st July 1995

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Rokuro Mochizuki

Starring: as Takashi Tachibana, as Yuki Tajima

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