Monday, March 12, 2012

i SPY ASIASPY: Black Tight Killers

Black Tight Killers
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Year 1966

Black Tight Killers is an extremely colorful and action packed flick that’s filled with so many off the wall moments and unbelievable situations that you’d be hard pressed to find even a tiny bit of boredom creep in to your viewing pleasure. This film is a stunner for the eyes to behold, filled with so many gadget-like weapons and scantily clad women; it would make James Bond blush. When it comes to Asiaspy films, Black Tight Killers is in a Technicolor league of its own.

This crazy film follows combat photographer Daisuke Hondo, as he gets mixed up in some wacky antics after going out on a date with a mysterious air stewardess named Yoriko. It turns out that Yoriko’s late father has hidden a substantial fortune that everyone and their mother wants to get their hands on, and unfortunately for Hondo, Yoriko is the only link to finding the treasure. Cut throat scumbags are coming out of the woodwork, not to mention a gang of ruthless go-go dancers, who seem to want Yoriko for their own personal plans. Desperately, Honda does everything in his power to keep Yoriko safe, but what can one man do against such overwhelming odds? Cast in a neon glow of film noir atmosphere and overflowing with style, Black Tight Killers is a cinematic experience you won’t soon forget.

Akira Kobayashi plays the role of Hondo, the clueless photographer who just so happens to kick all kinds of ass. Finding inspiration from James Bond and various other secret agent type characters, Kobayashi gives Hondo a charismatic and likeable demeanor that allows him to play the role of hero, multiple times over the course of the film. In a series of unfortunate and highly entertaining events, Hondo is bounced from one wild battle to the next, always fighting to win back Yoriko from the bad guys or just simply trying to survive the moment at hand. Kobayashi has the screen presence and ability to pull off this demanding whirlwind of a role, and he does it with such style and grace, that he makes the otherwise torturous events that he’s partaking in almost seem effortless. I’ll be looking for more films of his in the future.

Other then Akira’s outstanding presence in the film, the other heavy hitter of the story would be the gang of killer go-go dancers that constantly plague our main character. Armed with some of the most inventive weaponry to ever grace the screen, the simply named Black Tight Gang put the D in deadly. From ninja star shaped records, to exploding golf balls, to vise-like thighs, this gang entertains every time they make an appearance to test Hondo’s reserve. They make a formidable opponent for our hero Hondo and eventually as the story unfolds, their malice for each other turns to mutual respect as both Hondo and the Black Tight Gang are forced to fight side by side in order to defeat a common enemy. The inclusion of this spirited gang of femme fatales helps spice up the narrative and in the process, cranks up the fun factor of this flick to a ten.

Another attractive aspect of this film is the look of the entire production. With colors that could melt your eyeballs, the movie is a fantasy charged vision of hues from every shade of the rainbow. This technique brings a whole different kind of flavor to the mix, making the film come off as more of a waking dream then anything else. There are many instances where this aesthetic brings you out of the movie and makes you reflect on just how cool and stylized this film really is. These jarring moments are not a negative, but a glowing example on how breathtaking these segments of color filled obscurity can be, providing a very artistic approach to what would ordinarily be a run of the mill actioner.

It’s the simple yet colorful moments that stick out, like when Akira’s character is dreaming about Yoriko being chased by the Black Tight Killer Gang. This sequence particularly takes advantage of the film’s inclination for its overbearing visual style. In this scene, Yoriko is being pursued by the gang as she breaks through wall after wall of colorful rooms, filled only with the vibrant light of a few select primary colors. It’s visually stark and a perfect representation of how this film approaches its subject matter. This film can be funny, entertaining, and thrilling as any Japanese spy film that I’ve seen, but it’s the use of color that really brings this production into new heights.

Black Tight Killers is a unique entry in the rare Japanese spy-centric genre of films and it’s a wonderful escape from the norm. Relying heavily on its charismatic lead and the inclusion of the diverse and creatively absurd gang of femme fatales, the movie uses these wacky and wild elements to their fullest and never shies away from the surreal and entertaining.
Complimenting these fun aspects of the production are the extreme uses of color that the filmmakers seem to relish in, providing one of the most expressive takes on the genre to date. Bathed in a hypersensitive and vivid landscape, the film screams for your attention while amping up the retro cool of the settings and situations. If there is one thing to stress about this film, it’s that it is one beautiful looking masterpiece. Black Tight Killers is……

What's this, "No shirt, no shoes, no service" shit?

So what do you think of my good looks?

Ohhhhh! I made a stinky!

This is one epic staring contest.

Talk to the gold encrusted hand.

Who's ass do I have to kick to get some service around this joint?

Nothing beats breaking wind in a convertible. I feel so alive!

Why so serious?

Strike a pose gang! Work it!

I can see up your nose darling.

I like fire!

Now lets see what those crazy kids are doing up on Make-Out Point.

Ascots make me so HAPPY!

Alright... now do the Truffle Shuffle!

Another one bites the dust.

Will you go to the junior prom with me?

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