Some guys have all the luck, but high-schooler Kimihiro Watanuki is not one of those guys. Instead of being a chick magnet, as someone his age rightfully deserves to be, he’s a weirdness magnet. Supernatural beasties and bumps-in-the-night of all stripes are drawn to him like moths to a fluorescent lighting fixture, and so for him even a simple walk to school ends up being a marathon run crossed with a wrestling match. “Monster bait” is not what he had in mind when he filled out his career choice questionnaire; he just wants to get rid of this affliction and go date girls like any other fellow his age.
One day he’s dealing with a worse-than-normal bit of spiritual molestation when he blunders across a house in the middle of the city that seems to ward off whatever’s currently pestering him. It’s a shop of sorts, a place where people can come to have their deepest desires fulfilled — but always with a price, and inevitably with certain conditions attached. The shopkeeper, Yūko, is an armful: leggy, boozy, and flirty, with a propensity for outré fashions, a long good smoke and expensive spur-of-the-moment snacking. She gives Watanuki the once-over and right away has his number. He wants something, she tells him, or otherwise he wouldn’t be here.Read more
The key to Violent Cop is not in the violent moments, but in the shots where Detective Azuma (Takeshi Kitano) just stands there. Late in the movie, after he has been thrown off the force and his friend has been killed, he stands in the office of his commander, unflinching, unblinking, unmoving. This is a man whose reaction to all of life has been distilled down to exactly two stances: indifference or violence. There is nothing else there.
The first scene in Violent Cop, easily the darkest and most unforgiving movie Kitano ever made, sets the movie’s bleak tone: a gang of teenaged boys beating a homeless man senseless. At first there’s nothing but the man smiling toothlessly as he eats something (soup?); then a soccer ball comes plummeting into the frame and bashes into his belongings. The camera lingers dispassionately as the kids punch and kick him; when he collapses, they applaud, cheer, and head on home. Azuma (who has been presumably watching all along) spies one of the boys returning to his house, strides in, and tells the kid to turn himself him. "I didn’t do anything!" the boy whines. "You didn’t do anything? Then I didn’t do anything, either!" Azuma bellows, and pounds the kid’s head against the wall.Read more