Dangerous Trade in Kobe

Dangerous Trade in Kobe ★★★

Arrested and interrogated, Yakuza Ise turns informant and begins a friendship with the G-Man, Akutsu. assigned to work with him and bring down the Chinese boss of the Heroin trade in Kobe.

Eiichi Kudô's Dangerous Trade in Kobe never really hits the dizzy heights of the best of the Toei Yakuza flicks from the 1970's, lacking the realistic if crimson soaked violence of any of Kinji Fukasaku's offerings or the style and sleaze of Yasuharu Hasebe's. The films cardinal sin though is in it's soundtrack, a chief ingredient in any good Yakuza picture. Sôhei Matsubara's score, unfortunately, is all over the place, with funky guitar riffs, doses of jazz trumpet and stings that have seemingly been reworked from the "Battles Without Honour..." series. The story itself is pretty solid and feels something like a lesser cousin to Fukasaku's Cops Vs. Thugs (starring as it does the three main actors from that film and following similar themes of brotherhood between Yakuza and cop).

Hiroki Matsukata is excellent as always, playing Ise as the kind of Yakuza you could have a few drinks with (even if he is the sort of guy to beat off in a prison cell after getting a wee whiff of his best girls pubic hair) and Tatsuo Umeniya is fine as the straight laced and near humourless Akutsu... seems like he maybe watched a few episodes of the Untouchables to get that solemn and earnest face down pat. An all too small a role for Bunta Sugawara rounds out the main faces while the appearance of Nobuo Kaneko convinces me that he may very well appear in every 70's Toei film.

Solid and eminently watchable, just not really offering anything that others haven't done better.

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