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Smuggler ("Sumagura: Omae no mirai o hakobe")

Quebec Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2011
  • 115 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Chicago International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Fantastic Fest 2011

“Wildly entertaining... inventive, kinetic and cleverly edited action” - Scott A. Gray, EXCLAIM!

“Very silly, very violent, knows what it wants to be and goes out and gets it done” - FILMFEST.CA

Kinuta (Satoshi Tsumabuki) is buried up to his neck in bad news. Having abandoned his dream of becoming an actor, he is entirely devoted to compulsive gambling, and has fallen in with the criminal riff-raff that lurks around the gambling halls. As a result, Kinuta finds himself strapped with impossible debts, obliging him to accept the task of transporting dead bodies under orders from Yuki (Yasuko Matsuyuki), a mysterious woman of questionable ethics. She has dispatched a pair of Chinese hitmen who are apparently invincible, particularly the frightening Vertebrae (Masanobu Ando), to bump off a band of yakuzas, the crook’s hideaway is transformed into an abattoir. The gang presses Yuki to deliver their godfather’s killers to them, and his young widow Chiharu (Hikari Mitsushima) jumps into the action, to personally see to it that vengeance is realized. Of course, this is Vertebrae they’re dealing with — the scars on his body prove they aren’t the first to try to take him down. And who finds himself stuck with Vertebrae on his hands? Poor Kinuta, of course, finding himself squeezed ever harder by circumstances beyond his control…

After the stylish anarchy of SHARK SKIN MAN AND PEACH HIP GIRL, the gentle flights of fantasy in THE TASTE OF TEA et the surrealist delirium of FUNKY FOREST: THE FIRST CONTACT, writer/director Katsuhito Ishii finally returns to the Fantasia screen with SMUGGLER, the coolest film of his career! Diving into his adaptation of the superior manga by Shohei Manabe, Ishii has found the ideal platform for a return to, and even an outdoing of, the rapid-fire riot of SHARK SKIN MAN. This time around, he really delivers the goods with eye-popping visuals honed to perfection. SMUGGLER is a whirlwind of ultra-stylish violence and black-and-pitch humour. Blood, spit and tears soak the screen in Ishii’s slo-mo battle tableaux, which rival what MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY offered. For all the visual virtuosity Ishii displays, he never lets style overcome substance — SMUGGLER boasts a solid storyline harkening back to the golden age of film noir, with razor-sharp dialogue and outlandish characters portrayed by a dream cast. Better believe it, SMUGGLER is a weapon of mass distraction, built to measure for Fantasia!

— Nicolas Archambault