Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Proxy War
(With DVD, Subtitled)
Moving beyond the true stories dramatized in the first two episodes of the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, director Kinji Fukasaku and screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara embark on their most complex narrative yet in Proxy War, a multi-character web of alliances and betrayals set against the economic growth of Japan as it prepares to host the 1964 Olympic games. 1960. A power vacuum is formed within the Muraoka family when underboss Uchimoto (Takeshi Kato) refuses to avenge the assassination of a superior. With the help of series hero Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara), Uchimoto pledges loyalty to the powerful Akashi gang, but is soon expelled from the Muraoka for the act. Meanwhile, Akashi rivals the Shinwa Group form their own pact with Muraoka, and the enmity between the two gangs threatens to erupt into bloody violence across all of western Japan. The labyrinthine plotline of Proxy War which continues in episode four, Police Tactics approaches pure Jacobean drama as power players, kingmakers, and petty soldiers clash weapons and words in a stylized ritual of alliances and betrayals. Considered by many critics to be the best episode of the series, Proxy War is complex crime drama of the highest order.