Cop vs. Thugs has a lot of the same traits as Fukasaku's more celebrated films, but in this film the focus is on a dirty cop, Kuno, who performs shady back-deals for the Yakuza. Kuno is a man that is torn between his childhood allegiances with the yakuza and the increasing pressure from his superiors to become a clean cop - particularly when the new superior, Kaida, dedicates himself to cleaning up the force. In most films, Kaida would be the focus, but Fukasaku is much more interested in the plight of Kuno, whose forced to make tough decisions. Fukasaku tends to be an angry filmmaker when being critical of governmental bodies or police, and this film is definitely no different. Throughout the film we are shown stark parallels between the Yakuza clan and the police force, suggesting that these two groups of men really aren't very different at all. The police force was a very corrupt institution at the time, and Fukasaku holds no punches in exposing that fact. The biggest problem I had with the film was that it took way too long for this Kaida character to show up, which is really what ignites this whole moral dilemma for our main protagonist. I understand the need to show how the Yakuza and Police are intertwined, but taking an hour to get to Kaida's introduction was just a poor decision. Like any of Fukasaku's films the violence is fast and ultra-violent. He doesn't over-stylize it, but rather presents it a genuine way. Kinji Fukasaku's Cops vs. Thugs certainly has its merits but its definitely a notch This is an interesting film but its definitely a notch below his best work.
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