Hoodlum Soldier 兵隊やくざ (1965) NTSC DVD5 - Yasuzo Masumura, Custom subs
IMDb Link: www.imdb.com/title/tt0187871/
Genre: Comedy / Drama / War
Distributor: Daiei Video
Director: Yasuzo Masumura
DVD Format: NTSC
DVD Size: DVD5
Programs Used: AegiSub, MaestroSBT, VobBlanker, MuxMan, DVD Sub Edit, PGCEdit
Screen Format: Widescreen
Audio Language: Japanese
Audio Format: DD 2.0
Subtitles: English, Chinese
Menu: [x] Untouched
Video: [x] Untouched
DVD Extras: [x] Stripped
Yasuzo Masumura and Shintaro Katsu fans rejoice! Hoodlum Soldier's finally been subbed! All credit goes to bLoodZ @asiatorrents for the translation/timing. I've spent way too much time fantasizing about this film getting subtitled and now it's here. I wanna cry.
If you're still not excited, Donald Richie called this "Masumura's finest picture" and said "Japanese humour has never been blacker" (Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character).
Review from The Yakuza Movie Book by Mark Schilling:
Based on a novel by Yorichika Arima and the first in a nine-part series (eight from 1965 to 1968 and a final film released in 1972), Heitai Yakuza has elements of a typical service comedy, Japan division, including all-in brawls featuring star Shintaro Katsu, that made the film a crowd-pleasing hit. But scriptwriter Ryuzo Kikushima and director Yasuzo Masumura also incorporated a penetrating critique of the Imperial Army in wartime, especially the tyranny of the stronger over the weaker - and the brutal punishments meted out to those who deviated from the norm (or even those who didn't).
Arita, the intellectual who is the conscience of the film, proclaims his hatred of the army and all of its works, but he and the other characters do not question what they are doing in Manchuria in the first place. Their existence centers entirely on their own small, harshly Darwinian society: the world outside the camp, including the way they are ostensibly fighting, hardly exists. This narrowing of focus, as well as many of the incidents in the film's picaresque story line, have the ring of reality. It's an exaggerated reality, with Katsu lumbering through the film like a giant in a folk tale, but reality for all that.
The yakuza has often been called one of the latest institutions in Japan that preserves the "true Japanese spirit" (yamato damashi), but Katsu's Omiya is, despite the army's glorification of that spirit, a misfit, a loose cannon. Though a hardened fighter, used to the harsh code of gang life, he is supremely unimpressed by the army's hierarchies and rules. He respects only those who deserve respect, risks his life only for fights he can understand. In short, he could give two farts about the emperor's war. This makes him highly dangerous to an organization that is built on unquestioning obedience - and enforces that obedience with fear. Katsu's performance - earthy, but never merely buffoonish - is among his best, while co-star Takahiro Tamura shines as his elite, if rebellious, protector - who is occasionally in need of protection himself.
A few upload notes:
Again, special thanks to bLoodZ. This is a superb translation which he clearly spent a lot of time working on. I simply corrected some grammar and lengthened lines that were too short. bLoodZ also included translation notes during a few scenes (Animeigo-Lone Wolf Cub style) to explain vocabulary or ambiguity. Some are a bit obvious to those familiar with Japanese culture or military terminology, but for the most part are appreciated.
Also deserving of thanks is d23851618, the original source of the DVD, and polifem, for uploading it on KG and providing the Donald Richie quotes. The DVD itself is a big strange. All the Japanese menus are intact, but there's Chinese subtitles and an english narrated documentary included. I'd bet a six pack and a bag of potato chips it's the work of Chinese bootleggers. Aside from being about WWII, the documentary doesn't have anything to do with the movie, and in addition took up almost 4gb's of space, so I gladly removed it with vobblanker. All the original extras from the Japanese release remain untouched.