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Article

Minbo or the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion

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Minbo or the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
Unrated
performer:
Nobuku Miyamoto, Yasuo Daichi
director:
Juzo Itami
genre:
Foreign Language

We gave it an A-

”But the yakuza are so violent in movies!” protests one of the cowed victims in Minbo or the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion. Not in this ostensible gangster flick (the title refers to the yakuza practice of legal extortion), which director Juzo Itami (Tampopo) has actually crafted into an anti-gangster farce: In their attempt to rid the Hotel Europa of its bullying yakuza clientele, spineless accountant Suzuki (Yasuo Daichi) and clumsy porter Wakasugi (Takehiro Murata) evolve from wusses to warriors under the tutelage of razor-tongued Mahiru (Nobuku Miyamoto). Hardly an original conceit, but in the cartoonish grain of his wimpiness, his menace, and his melodrama, Itami easily makes victory over evil a matter more of guffaws than Grand Guignol.

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