The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959)

Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Kokinji Katsura, Jun Tatara,
Ningen no j?ken is a movie starring Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, and Kokinji Katsura. As a conscript in war-time Japan's military, a pacifist struggles to maintain his determination to keep his ideals.
  • 8.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Zenzô Matsuyama, Jumpei Gomikawa, Writer:
  • Masaki Kobayashi, Director:
  • Shigeru Wakatsuki, Producer:
10 / 10

Full-Metal Jacket for Grown-Ups

Part II of Masaki Kobayashi's "Human Condition" follows the noble Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai), now forced into military service, as he tries to hold on to his conscience despite increasingly absurd circumstances.

If Part I was a POW drama with a love story sub-plot, influencing many that followed it, then Part II is one of the best and rawest of the original boot-camp films, planting seeds for, in particular, "Full Metal Jacket". In fact, Kaji's training with the Imperial Army makes US Boot Camp look like daycare, uninclined as director Kobayashi is to pull punches when it comes to the ritual sadism of the Japanese military, which he personally endured in real life. The film bravely confronts Kaji's attitude, an almost holier-than-thou morality than annoys bullying veterans. This forces Kaji to deeply transform as a character and as a human being, from preppy moralist to actual, worn hero, a transition Nakadai pulls off with tremendous effect and efficiency.

But back to the bigger picture. Like Kubrick's similar – and, one should point out, lesser – film of the same genre, this is two pictures in one: a boot-camp film about the dehumanization of the military, and a war film. The first two thirds are all intensive training, with bullying veterans and hapless recruits. Here Kaji faces an interesting contradiction: he rejects the war with all his heart, yet he has it in him to be a perfect warrior. There is the inevitable inept recruit pushed to the brink subplot, but it is handled with more humanity and sense of absurdity than most other similar films could dream of.

Finally, the film takes us to the front, where all the bluster and empty honor fades in front of a line of charging enemy tanks, a startlingly effective battle scene that separates the men from the boys, though not in ways they had anticipated. Kobayashi's film rejects the traditional "bridge syndrome" typical of middle installments in film trilogies, and gives us the perfect Part II: a self-contained enough story with enough substance and depth to stand on its own, while drawing from its predecessor and opening up interesting possibilities for the finale.

Roll on part III.

10 / 10

Deeply Moving

It's been a long time since I've seen "Ningen no joken II", the second of Kibiyashi's trilogy: "The Human Condition". One scene (and you'll know it if you see the film) is one of the most visually stunning and heart wrenching in movie history. The rest of the film isn't far behind it with Tatsuya Nakadai giving a brilliant performance playing a good man caught in the monstrous jaws of history. Deeply moving.

10 / 10

First Sequel of an Anti-War Masterpiece

Kaji is sent to the Japanese army labeled of Red and is mistreated by the vets. Along his assignment, Kaji witnesses cruelties in the army; he revolts against the abusive treatment spent to the recruit Obara that commits suicide; he also sees his friend Shinj? Itt?hei defecting to the Russian border; and he ends in the front to fight a lost battle against the Soviet tanks division.

"The Human Condition – Parts III & IV" is the first sequel of the anti- war masterpiece by Masaki Kobayashi. The story is impressively realistic and magnificently shot with top-notch camera work, giving the sensation of a documentary. But maybe the most impressive is to see the treatment of the Japanese military with their soldiers. If they treated their own compatriots with such brutality, imagine how the enemies would be treated? My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

9 / 10

He who shouts loudest isn't always the bravest

Part I was a "Prisoner of War" drama with a love story sub-plot, then Part II is one of the best and rawest of the Military-camp films ever Made...I think that the second Part is More captivating than the first, maybe because i love military camp films a lot.Oh man i Can't Wait to see the Final Part.