The Game Trilogy (Toru Murakawa, 1978-1979)

JAPAN’S COOLEST HITMAN FINALLY ARRIVES IN THE WEST!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddTôru Murakawa’s Game Trilogy stars Yûsaku Matsuda (Black Rain) in the role that made him the Japanese king of cool.

Matsuda stars as the indomitable hitman Shohei Narumi, a deadly freelance assassin steeped in outsider appeal.  In The Most Dangerous Game, Narumi is hired to tip the scales in a murderous corporate rivalry, but is forced to watch his own back while protecting the alluring girlfriend of a gangster.  Narumi is enlisted into a gang conflict and is then betrayed in The Killing Game, endangering not just his life but the lives of his friend and of two beautiful women who know Narumi from a previous hit.  In The Execution Game, Narumi is strong-armed into killing another assassin and becomes embroiled in a complex web of mysterious organizations and hidden identities.

The Game Trilogy features Matsuda’s über-cool persona, typified by his lean frame, stylish clothes, and aggressive indifference and supported by beautiful women, desperate action, and the jazzy score of celebrated composer Yuji Ohno, making these action-thrillers a trifecta in funky, macho resolve.

Special Features:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of all 3 films in The Game Trilogy, available in the English speaking world for the first time
  • Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays)
  • New English subtitle translation of all 3 films
  • New interviews with director Tôru Murakawa, actor-singer Ichirô Araki, and actresses Kaori Takeda and Yutaka Nakajima
  • Soul Red, Osamu Minorikawa’s 2-hour documentary on Yûsaku Matsuda featuring interviews with Andy Garcia and Tadanobu Asano
  • Original trailers for all 3 films
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes

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Ninja Hunt (Tetsuya Yamauchi, 1964)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Ninja Hunt.

criterion logoWhen the corrupt Tokugawa shogunate seeks to abolish the Matsuyama clan during a transition of power and seize its wealth, it deploys its sinister Koga ninja to destroy an official proclamation that would confirm the clan’s new heir.  Aware of the shogunate plot, the Matsuyama clan hires four ronin whose clans were dissolved in similar plots and charges them to protect the proclamation and ferret out the ninja spies by any means.  These masterless samurai, led by the elder swordsman Wadakuro (Jûshirô Konoe), pursue their vengeance against the Koga ninja with brutal and single-minded intensity.  A masterpiece of the ninja film craze of the 1960s that remains little known outside of Japan, Tetsuya Yamauchi’s first film is a highly suspenseful and bitterly violent thriller.

Disc Features:

  • High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Alain Silver and critic, novelist, and musician Chris D.

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