Another
Lonely Hitman
70
6
Story
7
Cast
7
Fun
8
Subs
7
Overall
Daniel Lee Fullmer
May 18, 2005
Synopsis

A strung out yakuza from Osaka finds it difficult to adjust to life after being released from prison for murdering a rival gang boss.

Scene from the movie Another Lonely Hitman - Review | KFCC
Scene from the movie Another Lonely Hitman - Review | KFCC
Review

Low-budget yakuza flicks from the mid-nineties are some of the most entertaining films of all time. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but you have to admit that most of the time, even the crappy ones are a blast thanks to the formulaic plots – chockfull of supposed righteousness, turf wars, back stabbings, prostitute girlfriends, dismemberments, homosexuality and so on. 

The difference with ANOTHER LONELY HITMAN is director, Rokuro Mochizuki’s vivid demonstrations of the dark, cruel reality we live in and the occasional upsides that appear out of the blue, even if they may only be temporary. It is clear that, as a filmmaker, he understands what he is wants to portray and proves it unapologetically. Within minutes of one of his films, it quickly becomes apparent that his approach through the lens is much more thought-out, focused and unique. In no way are his films mindless junk or rehashes, despite the fact that some of the subject matter has been beaten into our heads for years upon years. For example, in ANOTHER LONELY HITMAN, our protagonist, Ichibana (gracefully played by former rock star Ryo Ishibashi), is the last of a dying breed of “honorable” yakuza that has just been released from prison after serving a ten-year term. Sound familiar? Of course it does, the title alone illustrates the film’s self-aware state as yet another cliché genre. But, unlike ninety percent of other nineties yakuza films, this one has substance, spark, a certain freshness that actually leaves a good taste in your mouth that sticks with you in an odd, haunting manner. Once in a while a movie can make you feel this way and if you are searching for that one to rekindle your interest in the gangster genre, look no further.

For whatever reason, Mochizuki has not gained as much critical or commercial success in the west as fellow filmmakers: Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It’s unfortunate because, up until now, his films have not been readily available for us to admire. Of course some have been available on the bootleg circuit, but they still seem to be hard to come by – not for long. This isn’t to say that Mochizuki doesn’t have a loyal fan base, he does and his followers’ favorites include ONIBI: THE FIRE WITHIN, MOBSTER’S CONFESSION, and A YAKUZA IN LOVE. Oh, and lets not forget his extensive filmography of roman porno flicks that date back over twenty years.

Ryo Ishibashi - definitely a man who is no stranger to yakuza roles, stars as the lonely hitman, Ichibana, who travels the lonely path of a reformed criminal. From there the story unfolds in an expected fashion – yakuza gets out of jail, meets woman, tries to change his ways only to find out that his “friends” are all back-stabbing bitches. Surely, you see where this is headed. Luckily Ishibashi’s character differs from most of the other “super-cool” gangsters he has played in the past. This one is an impotent, ex-druggie with hopes of becoming another lonely fisherman. It is always amusing to see Ishibashi take the lead and display his amazing acting abilities, particularly in Takashi Miike’s AUDITION and Shion Sono’s SUICIDE CLUB. As for the rest of the cast of misfits, they succeed in molding their own worthy contributions to Mochizuki’s grim underworld, set on a downward spiral. Keep an eye out for the man behind the story – novelist and former yakuza lawyer, Yukio Yamanouchi, who also wrote the novel behind OSAKA GOKUDO SENSO: SHINOIDARE, a V-cinema vehicle for Koji Yakusho made just the year before ANOTHER LONELY HITMAN.

The day has come where the sheer shock value found in films from directors like Takashi Miike just doesn’t cut it anymore. The popular excessiveness is losing momentum these days and we are definitely ready for substance again. I know, I know, who ever thought that seeing someone cut out his own tongue without making a peep would ever lose it’s power and presence? It’s time to go back to the basics, back to a time when good film relied on good filmmaking, not stylish editing and shock value. Those films are fun too, but if you’re aching for a powerful piece of film noir, give this one a shot.

Scene from the movie Another Lonely Hitman - Review | KFCC
Scene from the movie Another Lonely Hitman - Review | KFCC
70
Story
Cast
Entertainment
Subtitles
Overall
Daniel Lee Fullmer May 18, 2005
Media Review
Media Review by
Daniel Lee Fullmer
Distributor
ArtsMagic
Media Format
DVD
Region
Region 1
Encoding
NTSC

You know, it seems that ArtsMagic really love their Tom Mes commentaries and I’m not really sure why. Nothing against the guy, or anything (he does give a nice amount of well-researched facts), but listening to him talk is a serious snooze fest. Anyway, the rest of the disc can be summed up with one word: decent. Decent picture, decent sound and decent subs. It seemed like the translations weren’t as accurate on this release as most other ArtsMagic discs. The noticeable “pick-me-up” to be found on the disc is a sweet and informative interview with Mochizuki. Keep an eye out for a few other films by our new favorite moody director from ArtsMagic.