Plot: What’s it about?
Some police officers are forced to use violence to protect and serve, while some are too afraid of police brutality charges to lay a hand on criminals. Then, there are cops like Detective Azuma, those officers who not only use violence, they practice the art of violence like a religion. This is the type of guy you don’t want to piss off, since he’s as likely to shoot you, stab you, or kick your head off when you reach the end of his patience. Azuma is on an important case, trying to solve an ongoing series of crimes, which have a common thread…drug involvement. A fellow police officer, Iwake, has some information regarding the case, but is killed before he can relay the knowledge to Azuma. The police force tries to cover up the murder, just sweep it under the rug, but Azuma has plans to avenge his colleague’s death, and settle up with the criminal element responsible. Just when you don’t think these drug dealing bastards can get further on Azuma’s bad side, they kidnap his sister, who is a couple cards short of a full deck, if you catch my drift. With his mission clearly set, there is nothing between Azuma and his revenge except time…and a lot of bloodshed, both of which he is more than willing to involve.
The Asian action genre has a wide scope, with fast moving martial artists like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and gun slinging ass kickers like Chow Yun Fat. This movie has a little something in common with both styles, with gun firmly in hand, as well as some nice hand to hand combat, and some baseball bat action just for kicks. I happen to like the idea of a policeman using excessive force to end a crime spree, so I could be biased as to how good this movie is. I am also a fan of Asia action, both gun toting and martial arts fighting, so again, this affects my judgment on this movie. The action is quite good in Violent Cop, but the movie has some pretty good dialogue too, which moves the story along nicely. Sure, when you’ve got an insane cop hell bent on getting some payback, dialogue is an optional thing, but it helps put some feeling behind the beatings. I suppose it makes things a little more enjoyable when you know who the man being pummeled is, and why he deserves to be beaten to death. Another aspect of the writing I like is how Azuma is usually a reserved guy, but when he gets pushed too far, watch out, this dude snaps like a rubber band on heroine! I recommend this movie to those who love Asian action fare, as well as well told revenge tales.
This movie was directed by the same dude that plays the lead character, Takeshi Kitano. While the directing is not cinema wizardry, but Kitano manages to give the images some power when needed. He is no stranger behind the camera, also helming such films as Boiling Point (not Wesley Snipes’ movie), Sonatine, Fireworks, and his latest offering, Kikujiro. He’s no slouch as an actor either, having both excellent facial expressions as well as chemistry with other actors. Again, Kitano is used to being in front of the camera as well, in movies like Johnny Mnemonic, Gonin, and many of the films he directed. While the rest of the cast plays second fiddle, their performances are vital to the movie’s success. The supporting cast includes Shiro Sano, Maiko Kawakami, Shigeru Hiraizumi, Makoto Ashikawa (Boiling Point), and Mikiko Otanashi. Sure, I can’t speak Japanese, but I can realize when I see decent chemistry, and this movie has that.
Video: How does it look?
Violent Cop is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. While the source material leaves much to be desired, the overall image is better than I expected. Sure, the print has many flecks, nicks, and other wear signs, but given the source material, this is a good transfer. The colors rely on a natural spectrum, so the colors stay close to earthy hues, and flesh tones remain natural and consistent. The black levels are also quite good, with accurate shadow layering and no visible detail loss. There are some minor compression faults, but nothing to stress about.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is presented in the original language, Japanese, with optional English subtitles. Ah, how I love the inclusion of original language tracks. The audio is adequate, but one can only think of how good a full surround track would sound. All the elements are accounted for, with no separation issues popping up at all. The dialogue, while foreign, has a crisp tone to it, and mixes well with the other elements.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc includes production credits, filmographies, and a trailer for Violent Cop.