Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the most original directors to date. He's sick, he's twisted, and he's entirely original. I saw Tetsuo, his most famous film, this past January. Now I consider it a masterpiece. It was maybe the only movie that made me scream out loud because of the horror presented. Then this past week I found Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, and found it almost as ingenious as the first. Now I have seen the third of three of his films which has been released on video in the United States: Tokyo Fist.In plot, it is little different than Rocky. Just add a love triangle subplot. But in style, it is quite an amazing film. It's enough to break you. I don't think it's as good as the Tetsuo films, but it is an original and great film. 8/10
If there's a more dramatic context for human passion than fistfighting, I don't know what it is. From, say, GENTLEMAN JIM, THE HARDER THEY FALL, REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (both versions), THE GREAT WHITE HOPE and FAT CITY to, say, HARD TIMES, ROCKY, THE GREATEST, RAGING BULL, and ALI, The Sweet Science has been used to examine The Human Condition, up close and personal; subtext is thrust to the forefront, and boxing as drama is as clear and as pure as it comes. TOKYO FIST follows in that tradition, but in a hyperkinetic way that is so over-the-top that it would make Sam Raimi blush. That's not a bad thing: pushing the cinematic envelope is sometimes necessary (audiences become jaded, and need that wake-up call). Director Tsukamoto isn't practicing his ten-second nap by any stretch of the imagination. And stretching the imagination is exactly what he does. We see a man get struck by a blow that opens his brow- and blood comes spraying forth in a way it never could in real life. It's an image so extreme that one can't help but laugh... but, in the context of the emotional cauldron that is TOKYO FIST, it's very apropos. It's the spewing forth of pent-up emotions that perhaps only a Japanese filmmaker could have conceived (which seems a sound assumption, as no other filmmaker has ever- to my knowledge- come so close to exposing raw nerve endings in a motion picture). TOKYO FIST is an amazing achievement.
Japan's answer to Ed Wood may have an entirely different row to hoe, but Shinya Tsukamoto continues to match America's beloved auteur when it comes to obsessive filmmaking. Unfortunately his films are a lot less fun than Wood's. If you enjoy watching people pound on each other in between shots of festering meat and other nastiness, this is your film.
The first ten minutes are awesome. The movie is very strong, but the quality varies a lot along its development until its bad end. Both the fast paced training scenes and the oppressive Tokyo city footage are very nice. Though, the bizarreness of the story bores. This is a live action film with an anime aesthetics (for anime fans perhaps the movie pleases more). It could be a great movie if it had developed better the main character's ordinary life as a white collar, the chaos of the city (the story does not explore the interesting way the town is shown), the dangerous boxer who tattooes the number of defeated challengers on his shoulder. Less emphasis in body horror and sneezing blood would also contribute to a more satisfactory outcome. The director's brother should be substituted by a better actor. A different and better story for the love triangle would be necessary too. To conclude, the director/writer/actor Shin'ya Tsukamoto has the skills, but lacks good taste and makes bad decisions.
Tokyo Fist is the second movie directed by Shin'ya Tsukamoto after i witnessing the outrageous and probably one of my all time favorite body horror movie Tetsuo the Iron Man.Labeled as one of Tsukamoto best work Tokyo Fist is a huge let down for me.Of course the soundtrack composed by Chu Ishikawa is awesome with many intense fast editing montage full of ultra-violence but beside all that the plot is very dull.The relationship between three main characters don't make any sense to me and if there is a deep meaning behind this movie it just hidden too well or because I'm a blockhead