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JAPANORAMA - SF WASABI RICE BANNERBranded to Kill 01, Jô Shishido, Kôji Nanbara, Isao Tamagawa, Anne Mari, Mariko Ogawa, Hiroshi Minami, Goro Hanada, No. 1, 殺しの烙印, Koroshi no rakuin

Branded to Kill (殺しの烙印, Koroshi no rakuin): when a hitman fumbles his latest job he is soon a marked man. To say that this is “fairly non-sensicle” is probably over-selling the story – it’s like someone took a 5 hour movie and edited it so hard that only the absolute key dialogue and scenes were left in – leaving no time for characterisation, backstory, or context for anything happening on the screen. It’s quite explicit for the time; with an abundance of sex and violence. Stylistically, it’s got very rich visuals, some of which are as trippy and absurd as you can imagine – but overall it manages to remain a chic, kitsch, sexy 60s spy thriller. It’s undeniably B-Movie in nature, but boasts more stye and directorial flair than 99% of all films. Unfortunately, the story surrounding the film is actually more interesting (and makes more sense) – it flopped so badly that the director Seijun Suzuki was blacklisted by the Nikkatsu studio from making films, until, 10 years later, he successfully sued and got his career back on track. Branded to Kill is ridiculously hard to follow, but surprisingly easy to watch.

Score: 5.5/10

Branded to Kill 02, Jô Shishido, Kôji Nanbara, Isao Tamagawa, Anne Mari, Mariko Ogawa, Hiroshi Minami, Goro Hanada, No. 1, 殺しの烙印, Koroshi no rakuinBranded to Kill 03, Jô Shishido, Kôji Nanbara, Isao Tamagawa, Anne Mari, Mariko Ogawa, Hiroshi Minami, Goro Hanada, No. 1, 殺しの烙印, Koroshi no rakuin