Film reviews

Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! – Blu-Ray Review

As you can probably tell by the title, Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! isn’t your standard cop thriller. It is, however, an offbeat, bizarre, funny, entertaining and exciting take on the Yakuza film from director Seijun Suzuki whose film centre’s around the infamous Japanese mafia and is yet another cult film that the team at Arrow Video have rediscovered and that will have old school Asian cinema fans beaming with joy at it’s release.

Originally released in early 1963, Detective 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! (also known as ‘Detective Bureau 2-3: Down with the Wicked’. Go to Hell Bastards! is a much better title, right?!), was originally intended to be the first part of a film series and deals with cultural colonialism and post-war greed but in a satirical and comical way as opposed to a straight up and serious political statement. In terms of entertainment, this turned out to be a good move for Seijun Suzuki and his crew as Go to Hell Bastards! has the kind of offbeat but cool feel that would influence film makers, writers and directors for years to come. Indeed, Suzuki has influenced some of this generations most celebrated film makers; Quentin Tarantino, Park Chan-wook, Takashi Miike and Jim Jarmusch all owe a debt of gratitude to a man that is said to be responsible for some of Japan’s most stylish action movies along with that touch of the random craziness that makes the above names so unique in their field.

Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! is about a private investigator, Detective Tajima (Jo Shishido), who is tasked with infiltrating and taking down a Yakuza clan after a consignment of firearms get stolen. As the case progresses things get more dangerous for Tajima as his true identity gets threatened to get revealed (one scene, an example of Suzuki’s crazy tendencies, involves Tajima getting involved in a musical number in a club just to stop his potential identity getting out to Yakuza gang members!) and his strange behaviour threaten his taking down of the deadly clan. And yes, inevitably the investigation ends up becoming one massive shoot-out with an action-packed finale between the police and two clans.

Jo Shishido’s performance is spot on as Detective Tajima. He’s got that cool condidence and hardman charm but can turn on the funny randomness when needed. But to be fair, the whole cast do a good job in what is a fast paced, funny and stylish for it’s time crime thriller that definitely won’t be everyone due to its pacing, offbeat feel and use of a jazz score throughout as background music. But if you’re looking for something a bit different that’s fun and entertaining and want to see how our favourite film makers were inspired then give Go to Hell Bastards! a go with an open mind and you are sure to find something familiar and have an interesting ninety minutes, at least!

Extras for  release include an interview with writer Tony Rayns on the film and a stills gallery.

Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! was released on 9th July by Arrow Video.

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