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Hana-Bi Blu-ray Review


“Hana-Bi” isn’t one of Takeshi Kitano’s best.

In “Hana-Bi” (AKA “Fireworks”), the story revolves around a man (Nishi) whose life is falling apart. He lost his job as a Detective, a cop friend of his was killed while another was paralyzed, he lost his daughter and his wife is dying. Things get worse for Nishi when he is forced to borrow money from the Yakuza to help his wife. Needing to pay the money back somehow and hoping to help those close to him in need, Nishi decides to rob a bank. However, it soon becomes apparent that this decision may haunt him as the Yakuza and the Police are on his tail.

If you follow the work of Takeshi Kitano, you’ll know that he is quite the accomplished actor, director and entertainer. Whether he’s appearing in cult classics like “Battle Royale” or the hit TV series “Takeshi’s Castle” or helming his own movies like the underrated “Kikujiro,” there’s no denying that the man has series range. 1997’s “Hana-Bi” is known as one of his premiere directorial works, but upon rewatching it here, it doesn’t quite hold up.

While it has been an issue in his other films, the structure is downright odd in “Hana-Bi.” Not only are the scene transitions confusing, but the movie itself is all over the place both in tone and pacing. It has a peculiar flow to it and it never really gels like it should. There’s also a strange lack of characterization and events. You’re left wanting more and not in a good way.

On the plus side, the movie does have its moments. Again, as is the case with all Kitano films, the weird bouts of humor are the highlight here. I won’t spoil those moments, but they definitely brighten the movie up. Kitano himself is also quite good as Nishi. Whether he’s fighting or having a quite intimate moment with his wife, he really carries the movie.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? A first rate hi-def transfer that offers up crisp clarity.

Audio Track: Unspecified Japanese Track. How does it sound? This is an all-around quality track.

Extras: Film Movement trailers, a booklet featuring credits, photos and an essay by writer Jasper Sharp, “Making of Hana-Bi” featurette that contains film clips of “Fireworks” and other Kitano films, discussions about Kitano’s work, set footage, and more and a passionate and fact filled solo commentary by film critic David Fear.

November 27, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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