One of the most exciting, and deeply moving films about cops and criminals ever made.
Considered by many critics to be director Kinji Fukasaku's greatest single-film achievement in the yakuza genre, Cops vs Thugs was made at the height of popularity of Toei Studios' jitsuroku boom: realistic, modern crime movies based on true stories taken from contemporary headlines. Returning to the screen after completing their Battles Without Honor and Humanity series together, Fukasaku joined forces once again with screenwriter Kazuo Kasahara, composer Toshiaki Tsushima and stars Bunta Sugawara and Hiroki Matsukata to create one of the crowning achievements of his career, and a hard-boiled classic which is still ranked as one of the best Japanese films of the 1970's.
It's 1963 in the southern Japanese city of Kurashima, and tough-as-nails detective Kuno (Sugawara) enforces a detente between the warring Kawade and Ohara gangs. Best friends with Ohara lieutenant Hirotani (Matsukata), he understands that there are no clear lines in the underworld, and that everything is colored a different shade of gray. But when random gang violence interrupts the peace and an ambitious, by-the-books lieutenant (Tatsuo Umemiya) comes to town, Kuno's fragile alliance begins to crumble. Greedy bosses and politicians alike seize the opportunity to wipe out their enemies, and Kuno faces the painful choice of pledging allegiance to his badge or keeping a promise to his brother.
Like the great crime films of Sidney Lumet and Jean-Pierre Melville, in Fukasaku's world, there's no honor among thieves or lawmen alike, and the only thing that matters is personal honor and duty between friends. Kasahara's shattering screenplay and Fukasaku's dynamic direction support an all-star, ensemble cast to create one of the most exciting, and deeply moving films about cops and criminals ever made.
High Definition digital transfer
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original uncompressed mono audio
Optional English subtitles
Beyond the Film: Cops vs Thugs, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane
A new visual essay on cops & criminals in Fukasaku's works by film scholar Tom Mes
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan
Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Patrick Macias