Blu-ray Review: Retaliation
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Retaliation” target=”_blank”>Blu-ray
Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
Screenwriter: Yoshihiro Ishimatsu, Keiji Kubota
Cast: Akira Kobayashi, Jô Shishido, Hideaki Nitani
Arrow Video
Rated | 94 Minutes
Release Date: May 11, 2015

With 1968’s Retaliation, director Yasuharu Hasebe (Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter) reunites with the inimitable Jô Shishido (Branded to Kill, Youth of the Beast) for a follow up to their 1967 yakuza hit Massacre Gun.

A tale of gang warfare in Japan, Retaliation stars Akira Kobayashi (Battles Without Honor and Humanity, The Flowers and the Angry Waves) as Jiro Sagae, a yakuza lieutenant who returns from prison to find his gang dispersed and his aging boss in his deathbed.

Shishido stars as Hino, a rival of Jiro who is waiting for the opportune time to kill him, and Meiko Kaji (Lady Snowblood) appears as Saeko Hayafune, a young girl caught in the crossfire.

Available on restored high-definition Blu-ray (1080p) for the first time, Arrow Video’s special edition release is limited to only 3000 copies! Retaliation is as gritty as it is cynical, a hard-boiled precursor to the revisionist yakuza films of the ’70s.

From the golden age of Nakkatsu films, Retalation is sleek, stylish and violent in a visceral, uncomfortable way. The film features great music and brilliant performances – a forgotten classic that deserves to be seen. Luckily Arrow Video has delivered a Criterion-worthy release, packed with special features and a fantastic high-definition transfer.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Arrow Video, they’re one of the UK’s leading independent distributors of world cinema, arthouse, horror, and classic films. A few months ago they launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to expand to North America, much to the delight of cult film fans who previously had to import their top-notch releases. In addition to Retaliation, Arrow Video recently released the aforementioned Massacre Gun as well.

Arrow’s limited edition release includes exclusive new interviews with star Jô Shishido and an extensive study of both Hasebe and Shishido’s careers by critic and historian Tony Rayns. The package also features a trailer, gallery and a reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Ian MacEwan. There’s also a fantastic booklet that includes new writing on the film by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, illustrated throughout by MacEwan.

Overall, this is a must-own for fans of Japanese cinema. With only a handful of US releases so far, Arrow Video is quickly climbing to the top of the film distribution ladder. Like Scream Factory and Grindhouse Releasing, Arrow Video is building a catalog of cult classics that rivals Criterion Collection in presentation and engaging content. Check out a full list of bonus materials and the film’s theatrical trailer below!

Special Edition Features

* Original uncompressed mono PCM audio
* NEW translated English subtitles
* NEW interview with star Jô Shishido
* Interview with renowned critic and historian Tony Rayns
* Original theatrical trailer
* Gallery featuring rare promotional images
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork by Ian MacEwan
* Booklet featuring new writing by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, illustrated by Ian MacEwan and featuring original archive stills


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