Suzuki Seijun 100
Screening Dates
  • August 26, 2023 8:30
  • August 28, 2023 6:30

Effervescent pulpiness and patented eye-Pop pizzazz … One of the lightest, loosest entertainments of [Suzuki’s] early colour period.”

Chuck Stephens, Film Comment

Before reaching his outré apex in the genre with Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, Suzuki crafted this freewheeling yakuza picture that serves as an on-ramp to the glorious insurrections to come. Nikkatsu tough-guy Shishido Jo, in his first top billing for Suzuki, plays an undercover PI caught up in a turf war over a cache of stolen US firearms. From this ho-hum setup Suzuki spins an irreverent pulp thriller, bursting with splashes of formal daring, bubbly jazz, pop-art colour palettes, and delirious tonal shifts. If the goofy musical number isn’t worth the price of admission, the stunning title sequence—a maelstrom of graphic typography and flaming metal—surely is! Shishido, whose iconic chipmunk cheeks were surgically augmented to scotch his pretty-boy image, is mesmerizing in the lead. The film was intended to launch a Detective Bureau series but petered out after a DOA sequel.

In Japanese with English subtitles

There’s a pervasive, party-hearty irreverence to [Suzuki’s film] … Shishido is one of the most uproarious and distinctive action heroes in cinema history, here seen doing his own gymnastic stunts and running from machine-gun blasts in a three-piece silk suit.”

Michael Atkinson, Sight and Sound

Suzuki keeps colouring outside the lines … Detective Bureau 2–3 leaves a zigzag of multicolour flares, grimaces, sudden gestures that poke through the skin of narrative.”

Fernando F. Croce, MUBI Notebook