Outlaw Gangster VIP: The Complete Collection (6-Film Limited Edition Box Set feat. Gangster VIP 1 & 2, Heartless, Goro the Assassin, Black Dagger, and Kill!) [Blu-ray + DVD]
Company: Arrow Video
American Distributor: MVD Visual
Starring: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Koji Wada, Jirô Okazaki, Meiko Kaji, Goro Mutsumi, Tamio Kawachi
My Review and Thoughts:
Possibly one of the best Complete Collections to come to Blu-ray. Arrow Video has an amazing job adding all these together in one complete product. I was super happy to be able to experience these films. Arrow Video has done a major justice in bringing this set to Blu-ray, to be able to experience this crime, action series.
The first was Outlaw Gangster VIP followed by 5 sequels. The whole series is amazing and is one of those series that lingers and stays with you. It’s a jam packed production. Your main character is Goro, played flawlessly by Tetsuya Watari. Goro is a gangster who was sent to prison after stabbing a hitman who just happened to be apart of another gang that are rival’s. This gang is known as Aokis. Out of prison he sees that his gang is falling apart, and the hitman he tried to kill, just happens to still be alive.
The star is Tetsuya Watari. A fantastic actor that is able to express a believable reality to his characters. He is one of those actors I feel never got the house hold name of popularity that he deserved. Watching him in Gangster VIP and the sequels, one can’t help but become a part of his style, personality, and over all acting expertise. Started acting in 1965 and continued to act all the way up to 2013. He also starred in another favorite of mine 1966’s Tokyo Drifter.
In Gangster VIP 2 Goro is trying to move forward, away from his darkened past. This one is thick with drama and more character development then the first one. As before in Gangster VIP, Tetsuya Watari captures the character in a flawless way through a wonderful dramatic and dark performance. In the third film Heartless our Anti style hero is at it again in this action thriller. Heartless I feel is the lessor of the films. Not entirely sure where I would rank this one in the context of rating chart. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad film and I did thoroughly enjoy all the characters who are fleshed out in amazing detail. This time around Goro is after Sawada, a gambler who happens to owe 3 million yen to Goro’s employer, and as you would guess, Goro is coming to collect. In the 4th movie, Goro the Assassin is about to be released from prison when his partner in crime Masahiko is dying. On his death bed he gives Goro one last order to find his sister, and to take care of her. Out of jail, he decides to follow the mission in finding the sister, but soon like in all crime thriller reality, Goro finds himself yet again in an ordeal that only crime, violence can solve. In the 5th instalment Black Dagger there is a street war happening, two separate gangs are going at it. And as you would guess it, Goro is smack in the middle. The 6th and final film in the awesome Gangster VIP series is titled Kill! and came out in 1969. This time as you would expect, Goro comes to town and yes like in Gangster VIP reality, he finds himself in the troubles. Goro helps out a young woman who is being tormented by a group of Yakuza thugs.
The first one was directed by one of the finest Japanese film directors to ever grace cinema. Toshio Masuda. Masuda who is still alive as of this writing, created so many wonderful box office winners. I think he is one of those director's and visionaries that should be expressed and remembered. He directed the Japanese parts of the classic war film 1970’s Tora! Tora! Tora! Also the great 1958’s Rusty Knife, just a few I want to mention. Parts 2, 4, 5 and 6 was directed by another fantastic Japanese film director. Keiichi Ozawa. Ozawa directed another favorite of mine 1971’s The Hunted Samurai. The 3rd Outlaw VIP Heartless was directed by Mio Ezaki. Another Japanese director that I feel is worthy to praise and remember. That is what is so great about this series is the direction is solid, there are a few moments that I could pin point that doesn’t work, but in the end the conclusion of the series I feel works. The 1st one is always the better one, but each of other parts, I feel still work.
These are a wonderful collection of Crime thrillers. Each one I feel has its merit to be remembered. Gangsters and crime has always been a fascination with movie makers and movie watchers. I think the Outlaw Gangster series is one those worthy collections to talk about, remember and express to others. Arrow Video has honored this series with a must own Blu-ray collection.
As always flawless example of how to treat a film, or in this case multiple films. Audio is spot on and video is also spot on.
Limited Edition Box Set (3000 copies) containing all six films in the Outlaw series, available with English subtitles for the first time on any home video format
High Definition digital transfers of all six films, from original film elements by Nikkatsu Corporation
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original uncompressed mono audio
Newly translated English subtitles
Arrow Video is a powerful company when it comes to flawless extras. They always jam pack their productions with wonderful top quality and Gangster VIP is no different. Not only transferred into a wonderful High Definition, but also exclusive special features which if you know me, I absolutely love extras. I am a self-proclaimed film historian, or film fiend and enjoy anything related to the film I am watching.
Audio commentary on Outlaw: Gangster VIP by Jasper Sharp
Visual essay covering the entire series by Kevin Gilvear
Original trailers for all six films
Extensive promotional image galleries for all six films
Exclusive gatefold packaging featuring brand new artwork by Tonci Zonjic
Booklet featuring an interview with director Toshio Masuda by Mark Schilling, plus new writing by Schilling, Chris D and Kevin Gilvear
There is such beauty if you will in the products of Arrow Video. Any movie buff, film guru, movie historian or just plain fan of cinema can always count on top quality Blu-ray’s packed with excellent imagery and audio reality. Plus, filled with special features. The packaging is always fantastic and is an art form in itself. Gangster VIP set is a must own, must experience beauty of old cinema that is still relevant in today’s reality, and thankfully because of Arrow Video these films are preserved and brought out for a new generation.