Crime and gangster films coming out of Japan have a wide range of styles, approaches, and budgets. While some belong to the low budget Japanese V-Cinema straight-to-video tradition, others are more artistically respected and subtle in their depiction of organized crime and the violence associated with it. Bad City falls somewhere in the middle, leaning into the spectacle without losing sight of realism and becoming entirely exploitation.
Bad City follows a small ragtag crew of police officers who form a classified team to take down the local Yakuza family terrorizing the fictional Kaiko City. The special investigation team is led by the imprisoned and disgraced former Captain Torada (Hitoshi Ozawa), who was falsely convicted for a murder he didn’t commit. Torada is let out of prison to take down criminal and corrupt businessman Gojo (Lily Franky) as he builds his power and control with a partnership with Korean Crime Boss, Seung-gi (Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi). Despite a complex web of characters, Bad City takes a straightforward approach to its crime narrative, with plenty of satisfying action along the way.
While aspects of the narrative are a bit unbelievable, though well within the realm of believability found in the premise of most Hollywood action films, what stands out in Bad City is the grounded fight choreography from a filmmaker who was known for that before becoming a director. While this is Kensuke Sonomura’s second film as a director, he has an impressive number of credits working as a stunt coordinator and action director. This is apparent in Bad City, which increases the number of fight sequences from Sonomura’s directorial debut, Hydra (2019).
Although there isn’t much in terms of additional material on the Blu-ray, it does include the option of viewing the film with English dubbing. The only other extra is the film’s trailer.
Entertainment Value: /10
Quality of Filmmaking: /10
Historical Significance: /10
Special Features: /10