This is a film by the zeitgeist of Japan himself, Takeshi Kitano, otherwise known as "Beat" Takeshi, a nickname acquired from long nights spent alone in the bathroom with suggestive pictures of Toshiro Mifune. After writing a library's worth of novels and starring in numerous television shows, Takeshi's now taken his show to the cinema, where he's being credited with redefining the gangster film.
If "slow" and "indescribably boring" are going to be the new definitions of the gangster film, Takeshi is well on his way to being an industry leader. Having little else to do while watching his snail-paced character study, I actually managed to push my arm through a theater seat cup holder all the way past my elbow.
Thinking himself something of an artist, Takeshi is prone to have his camera fix its dull gaze on boring subjects for what seems like an eternity. Usually, we're locked into a shot of Takeshi's own face, which is filled with more cracks than a Clinton denial. Takeshi plays the main character of the film, a former cop with a sick wife who's being followed by the Yakuza because of some outstanding debts.
Takeshi titled the film "Fireworks" because every thirty minutes or so, his character shoots somebody. The trouble is that it takes another 30 minutes for the bullet to pass from the gun to the victim. That may be Takeshi's idea of fireworks, but it's my idea of a dud.
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