Saturday, December 26, 2009

SPOTLIGHT: Wolves of the City: Attack! Number One (1971)

Motorbikes, dynamite belts, Jolly Roger bandanas, bowling balls, American Civil War hats on jaunty angles, gay cravats and half-naked girls with a katana blade or two... what more could you want? Is this serious? The verdict is still out.

Furyo Bancho Totsugeki! Ichiban
(Wolves of the City: Attack! Number One) is, like the 13 films before it, based on American delinquent biker escapades in the mold of the iconic The Wild One and even Roger Corman’s less significant Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra vehicle The Wild Angels.

This particular episode in the Japanese spin-off series is arguably the best of a whole bunch of Furyo Bancho rambling pirate-like biker movies from director Makoto Naito (he co-wrote the 1981 Sonny Chiba and Hiroyuki Sanada flick The Kamikaze Adventurers), which usually starred a young Tatsuo Umemiya and Bunta Sugawara – later both famous yakuza eiga (Yakuza gangster film) regulars in Japan.

Sugawara, however, reinvented himself as a voice actor for Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli - as the multiple-limbed fire-stoker Kamaji in Spirited Away (2001), and the world-wise Haitaka in 2005's Gedo Senki.

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