Movie Poster
Violent Cop
Tikeshi Kitano
Tikeshi Kitano, Sei Hiraizumi, Maiko Kawakami
103 min.


1971 was the year of the bad cop with his heart in the right place gets drummed out of the force, takes matters into his own hands film (Dirty Harry, Shaft, The French Connection). Not only does Violent Cop have the best title of the four, it makes The French Connection seem like an episode of McCloud. Takeshi Kitano pedals (to paraphrase a reviewer of Fireworks) masterpieces of violence. This is, anyway, pre-Kikujiro, which would be more a "masterpiece" of grumpy old man bonds with cute schoolkid. And with a stand-off that bests the one in City on Fire (Ringo Lam, 1987, which Tarantino copped for Reservoir Dogs), and a handful of other brilliant setpieces, this lives up to the title.

Kitano's style is not as fully developed here as it would become by Hana-Bi, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The elements are here, the impassive almost motionless calm interrupted by sudden bursts of graphic violence, the unexpected humor, Kitano's stoic Chow Yun-Fat meets Buster Keaton lead, but they aren't reduced to such purity. They also don't ever ring of contrivedness. Never here do we get the feeling that Kitano is trying to replicate "that Takeshi Kitano style". Here it is all as new to him as it is to audiences. And for this reason even the slow parts pulse with vitality.

If you are truly a connoisseur of film violence, not merely some teenage retard looking for a generic adrenelin kick, this is not to be missed. Few people do fatalistic cop/robber/revenge pictures as well as Takeshi Kitano and no one does them better.

Pat Jackson