The despicable Bohachi clan are back in this follow up to Porno jidaigeki: Bohachi bushido. Despite being a sequel to Porno jidaigeki: Bohachi bushido though, Bohachi Bushido Saburai shares little in terms of cast and crew with the first film and significantly the director’s chair is filled by Takashi Harada this time, not Teuro Ishii. Despite its new director and different cast though, Saburai is essentially more of the same, just with a little less memorable extravagance.
After the success of the first Abashiri Prison film, Teruo Ishii and Ken Takakura moved onto the first of many sequels. The first notable difference with the second in the series is that this film was shot in colour, a huge difference from the stark black and white of the first film. The location has also changed with Shin’Ichi out of prison and by the sea, no snow drifts and bleak weather this time around. The setting of this Abashiri Prison film offers a lot of sunshine and a significantly larger female cast.
Porno jidaigeki: Bohachi Bushido is an exploitation picture by the masterful genre director Teruo Ishii and is based on the violent manga by Kazuo Koike, the writer of the Lone Wolf & Cub series and Lady Snowblood. Standing out, even in Ishii’s filmography, as a gruesome and sleazy film, Porno jidaigeki: Bohachi Bushido is a descent into a dark and seedy world of amoral behaviour and vice.
The first sequel in the Stray Cat Rock series of films, Wild Jumbo, is a definite departure from the first film. Beginning with a lighthearted introduction featuring Meiko Kaji, playing an entirely new character (there’s little to no continuity in the Stray Cat Rock films) and three guys having a foot race, dancing and generally goofing around. Things don’t actually change too much for the majority of the film and it is only in the last twenty minutes that a clear plot really kicks in and things get ‘serious’.
Released in Japan just six months after the first film, the second Zatoichi film is almost certainly one for completists only. At 72 minutes The Tale of Zatoichi continues is also rather short and contained within is very little in the way of plot or character development.
In 1967 Joe Shishido starred in three films for Nikkatsu, roles that came to be perhaps the most iconic of his 170 film career at Nikkatsu. These films were Seiijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill, Yasuharu Hasebe’s Slaughter Gun and Takashi Nomura’s A Colt Is My Passport. Most famous internationally is undoubtedly Branded to Kill, an incredibly dark and almost nihilistic Film Noir that resulted in Suzuki being fired from Nikkatsu but later became a defining film in the careers of Suzuki and Shishido. A Colt Is My Passport was released just a few months before Branded to Kill and shares a lot of similarities in content and some similarities in approach.
Teruo Ishii is probably best known for his Grand Guignol epics but in 1965 he directed the first Abashiri Prison with Toei star Ken Takakura as Shin’Ichi Tachibana. The film helped launch Ken Takakura’s career and led to sixteen sequels, the next nine directed by Teruo Ishii in just two years. Although ultimately becoming bored with the monotony of the Abashiri Prison sequels and turning to lower budget exploitation pieces such as Bohachi Bushido and Blind Woman’s Curse, the Abashiri films gave Teruo Ishii box office success and were often great examples of expertly crafted sixties crime films.