Video Review

Minbo or the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion (1995)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Details Movie Rated: Unrated; Genre: Foreign Language; With: Nobuku Miyamoto and Yasuo Daichi

''But the yakuza are so violent in movies!'' protests one of the cowed victims in Minbo or the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion. Not in this ostensible gangster flick (the title refers to the yakuza practice of legal extortion), which director Juzo Itami (Tampopo) has actually crafted into an anti-gangster farce: In their attempt to rid the Hotel Europa of its bullying yakuza clientele, spineless accountant Suzuki (Yasuo Daichi) and clumsy porter Wakasugi (Takehiro Murata) evolve from wusses to warriors under the tutelage of razor-tongued Mahiru (Nobuku Miyamoto). Hardly an original conceit, but in the cartoonish grain of his wimpiness, his menace, and his melodrama, Itami easily makes victory over evil a matter more of guffaws than Grand Guignol.

Originally posted Nov 24, 1995 Published in issue #302 Nov 24, 1995 Order article reprints

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