An extremely fun early outing from cinematic genius Takeshi Kitano. Although not as polished as some of his later work, it's still a fine film and an important stepping point in Kitano’s career.
Masaki(Masahiko Ono) is a simple reserved man, who loves his motorbike and playing on his baseball team. After accidentally crossing a member of the local Yakuza, he flees to Okinawa to buy a gun to help defend himself. Upon arrival he ends up being befriended by a psychotic gangster Uehara (Takeshi Kitano) who is also looking for revenge on the Yakuza.
Boiling Point is important in many ways for Kitano, the main being it is his first film as writer. And his second as director. You can really see the charms, themes and style Kitano becomes famous for throughout this career.
One of the key surprise elements to this film is the visual comedy. Takeshi previously working as a stand up comedian which really perfected his comedy timing, and Boiling Point is full of great, sometimes disturbing comedy with real laugh out loud moments. Some of the gags including showing the setup, and the punch line, without the in between. Such as a young punk acting cocky and riding a motorbike for the first time with no license. Then later showing him sitting on the ground with his face bloody and the bike smashed. The film is full of great visual jokes like this.
Of course some would say the comedy would be used to balance out Takeshi’s other trademark, which is rampant in this film, violence. Boiling Point has plenty of slow paced violent shoot outs, people getting beaten and slapped about and even a few hints of sexual assault.
The majority of the violence is down to Kitano’s character Uehara who is a complete psychopath. He is extremely crude, disturbing and bordering on insane. But also charming and absorbing. One of the flaws of this film was how little screen-time Uehara had. Unless it was done purposely to leave you wanting more and leaving the character mysterious.
Boiling Point is a very minimal film. With long cuts, and no music. Although another Joe Hisaishi soundtrack would have been excellent, it doesn't feel needed for this film, it works on it's own and still manages to deliver emotion without any help.
A great Kitano film, not his best but a worthwhile and enjoyable effort. Still a must see for Kitano and Yakuza fans. But newcomers to the Cinema of Takeshi Kitano who lust for the gangster/violence films might want to start with ‘Violent Cop’ or ‘Sonatine’ instead.
Very unusual trailer