The third part of Arrow’s Diamond Guys Vol 2 is definitely the funniest, as suggested by the guy in the introduction, who threatens to shoot anyone who does not laugh, suggests.
The film revolves around a mysterious individual named Joe of Spades, who threatens the existence of a criminal syndicate, despite the fact that no one knows who he is. The crime syndicate, that comprises of five kingpins, each one in charge of various “fields” (prostitution, drugs, gamble, etc) decide to hire professional assassins to kill Joe of Spades, after one of their members is gunned down, with a card with the ace of spades lying next to his body. In order to choose ten of them, they use the Assassin’s office, which actually auditions professionals. The final choice comprises of a group of preposterous characters, each with his own, unique, killing technique. However, when a rival syndicate hires its own assassins to kill the aforementioned ones, things become complicated, while someone seems to manipulate them all from the shadows.
Haruyasu Noguchi directs a farcical comedy that focuses on two factors: slapstick humor and gunshots. The first aspect derives mostly from the absurdity of the various assassins. A kid who is supposedly Al Capone’s grandson, named Al Capone III, who constantly drinks and smokes. Another one who tries to raise money to leave his mother’s care, in an effort that leads him to ask for money from anyone who comes his way. A baseball fanatic. Another one holding a history book that can shoot bullets, who searches for a girl, and many more, with similarly peculiar characteristics. The second aspect appears almost constantly in the film, as the majority of the scenes include a gunshot or two, although they are mostly used in absurd fashion. Two of the assassins shoot at the buttons of a TV in a bar to change the channel. Another one shoots at a telephone, managing to call a number. Others even shoot for no reason at all. The component, however, finds its apogee in the final showdown, which is quite impressive. This part is where the technical aspect shows its prowess, with great cinematography and sound, that benefit the most from the digital transfer of the original, 1965 Nikkatsu film in Blu-Ray format.
Joe Shishido is, once more, cool as ever, although the kid who plays Al Capone III is definitely the one who steals the show. Overall, the acting follows the slapstick aesthetics of the film, with no one in particular standing out.
“Murder Unincorporated” is a genuine farce, that produces much laughter, at least to the fans of slapstick humor.
The film is part of Arrow Films Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol 2, that also features “Tokyo Mighty Guy” and “Joe of Spades.” Presented for the first time in the West on DVD and Blu-ray format, the collection features these special contents:
- Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3000 copies)
- High Definition digital transfers of all three films in this collection, from original film elements by Nikkatsu Corporation
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
- Original uncompressed mono audio
- Newly translated English subtitles
- Specially recorded video discussions with Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp on Diamond Guys Jo Shishido and Akira Kobayashi
- Original trailers for all three films
- Extensive promotional image galleries for all films
- Reversible sleeve featuring brand new artwork by Graham Humphreys
- Booklet featuring new writing on all the films and director profiles by Stuart Galbraith IV, Tom Mes and Mark Schilling