New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Last Days of the Boss

New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Last Days of the Boss (Japanese: 新仁義なき戦い 組長最後の日, Hepburn: Shin Jingi Naki Tatakai: Kumicho Saigo no Hi) is a 1976 Japanese yakuza film directed by Kinji Fukasaku. It is the third and final film in a series of films with unrelated plotlines, following New Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1974) and New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head (1975).

New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Last Days of the Boss
Japanese release poster
Directed byKinji Fukasaku
Produced byGoro Kusakabe
Keiichi Hashimoto
Kyo Namura
Written byKoji Takada
StarringBunta Sugawara
Chieko Matsubara
Koji Wada
Narrated bySatoshi "Tetsu" Sakai
Music byToshiaki Tsushima
CinematographyToru Nakajima
Edited byIsamu Ichita
Distributed byToei
Release date
  • April 24, 1976 (1976-04-24)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese

Plot

A minor dispute between Osaka's Yonemoto family and Amagasaki's Kawahara family grows into a major conflict leading to the deaths of several members of their larger Osaka Sakamoto family and Kitakyushu's Genryu Group. During this time Shuichi Nozaki's boss Iwaki is killed and Nozaki cannot honorably assume the position as new boss until he avenges his death. When the disputing parties attempt to form an alliance whereby no high-ranking members of the families will be killed, Nozaki does not feel that it honors his boss's death and refuses to stop until he has killed an enemy of equivalent rank in retaliation.

After a failed attempt on Yonemoto's life, he makes an attempt on Sakamoto himself. Nozaki is finally injured and caught by the police during a second failed attempt to kill Sakamoto in an airport. Nozaki recovers in the hospital while Sakamoto is being hidden in the airport hotel during his recovery. Nozaki's sister Asami offers herself to Shinkichi in return for his aid in helping Nozaki escape from the hospital before he is sent to jail. With his aid Nozaki escapes but when they reach the airport hotel Shinkichi is shot dead. Nozaki reaches Sakamoto's room and finds him already nearly dead but shoots him anyway. He surrenders to the police and as he is being led away he is stabbed in the stomach by one of Sakamoto's loyal men. Nozaki is driven away looking at his own bloody hands in handcuffs.

Cast

  • Bunta Sugawara as Shuichi Nozaki
  • Koji Wada as Tsutomu Nakamichi
  • Chieko Matsubara as Asami Nakamichi
  • Isao Bito as Shinkichi Kuwata
  • Takuya Fujioka as Yonemoto
  • Eitaro Ozawa as Hidemitsu Sakamoto
  • Mikio Narita as Koji Matsuoka
  • Kenichi Sakuragi as Akira Nishimoto
  • Rie Yokoyama as Misuzu Konaka
  • Hiroshi Nawa as Funada
  • Jun Tatara as Iwaki
  • Michiro Minami as Genji Kawahara
  • Eiji Gō as Joe
  • Sakae Umezu as Tokichi
  • Sanae Nakahara as Hisano
  • Takeo Chii as Matsuzo Sakagawa
  • Masataka Iwao as Nakahara
  • Nobuo Yana as Nemoto
  • Harumi Sone as Shoji
  • Rinichi Yamamoto as Kurihara
  • Kan Mikami as Tah-bo
  • Koji Nanjo as Isao Shikada
  • Ryo Nishida as a Nozaki family member
  • Takuzo Kawatani as Kazunari Tsugawa
  • Ryuji Katagiri as Tanaka

Production

Fukasaku biographer and film expert Sadao Yamane feels that unlike New Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Last Days of the Boss is like The Boss's Head and features no relation to the original five-part series, but tells an original story. Put simply, he said that the original series was about Japan having lost the war and the chaos and confusion as its youth fought to survive. Whereas that zeitgeist is not seen at all in the new trilogy. Yamane said that with the characters played by Bunta Sugawara and Chieko Matsubara, Last Days of the Boss has a very different atmosphere than yakuza action movies. Another trait it has in common with its direct predecessor, is that both have women involved and realistic "car action."[1]

But unlike The Boss's Head, screenwriter Koji Takada did not have to work with a story someone else had already written and was able to write what he wanted. Takada said that he fulfilled one of his "cinematic wishes" to show a top boss finally get assassinated in a film, noting that it was never seen up to that point. While looking for ideas, someone suggested to him real stories; one set in a coal mine in Kyushu and another where a policeman's gun was stolen and murders committed with it. He initially combined them into a story about a brother and sister whose parents are trapped in a mining accident and a policeman helps them look for them. Years later, the policeman is killed and his pistol stolen. The brother joins the yakuza in order to find the killer, and learns that it is his sister's lover. But this was scrapped when stories about an unidentified female body being found and cafe murders committed by members of the Matsuda yakuza family in Osaka were reported in newspapers and subsequently included in the film. However, several elements of the abandoned coal mine idea are seen with Sugawara and Matsubara's characters in the film. Although he wanted to go further with the siblings' incestuous love for each other, Takada said Goro Kusakabe and the other producers told him not to.[2]

Takada revealed that after a pre-release screening of The Boss's Head, Fukasaku told him that they had "failed this time." Something Takada disagrees with. The writer also said he believes Sugawara gave his best performance out of all the Battles films.[2]

Release

Arrow Films released a limited edition Blu-ray and DVD box set of all three films in the UK on August 21, 2017, and in the US on August 29, 2017. Special features include interviews with screenwriter Koji Takada and an appreciation video by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane.[3]

References

  1. Yamane, Sadao (September 2016). Beyond the Films: New Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Blu-ray). Tokyo: Arrow Films.
  2. Takada, Koji (September 2016). Koji Takada: Closing Stories (Blu-ray). Tokyo: Arrow Films.
  3. "New Battles Without Honour and Humanity Dual Format". Arrow Films. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
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