Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Notable Cast: Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsukata, Tatsuo Umemiya, Shingo Yamashiro, Asao Sano, Akira Shioji, Hideo Murota, Mikio Narita, Takuzo Kawatani, Harumi Sone, Tatsuo Endo, Nobuo Kaneko
“It’s war. Go and get them.”
The 70s were about as prime as it gets for Kinji Fukasaku films. The man essentially could do no wrong. Whether it was his two stints of the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series (the second series called New Battles Without Honor and Humanity is getting a Blu Ray release here in the US in July and everyone and their dog should be very excited) or his various other stand-alone features, pretty much anything he did from this era is gold. This includes Cops Vs Thugs, a film he did in-between entries on the previously noted New Battles series. It was hard not to get my hopes up for this film going into it knowing that not only was it a Fukasaku film from this period, but it starred some of his regulars and was written by Kazuo Kasahara who penned the first four Battles films, and even with those hopes Cops Vs Thugs strikes out as another massively impressive film that dives into the complex humanity of law and crime. It’s a film that is both highly entertaining in an action oriented cops and robbers manner, but it also strikes a very effective chord about the gray areas of morality that being human straddles in a world that’s not nearly as black and white as it is made out to be. The results are another classic from an iconic director that needs a lot more love and a lot more attention.