Violent cop

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German title Violent cop
Original title Sono otoko, kyōbō ni tsuki
Country of production Japan
original language Japanese
Publishing year 1989
length 98 minutes
Age rating FSK 18
Director Takeshi Kitano
script Hisashi Nozawa
Takeshi Kitano (anonymous)
production Shozo Ichiyama
Hisao Nabeshima
Takio Yoshida
Kazuyoshi Okuyama
music Daisaku Kume
camera Yasushi Sasakibara
cut Nobutake Kamiya

Violent Cop ( Japaneseそ の 男 、 凶暴 に つ きSono otoko, kyōbō ni tsuki ) is a Japanese feature film from 1989. The drama was directed by Takeshi Kitano , the screenplay was written by Hisashi Nozawa . The detective film was produced by Bandai Media Division and Shochiku-Fuji Company .


The unmarried 39-year-old Wagatsuma Ryosuke aka Azuma, a police officer and thug known for his unorthodox methods, who cares little about correct compliance with service regulations, works as a homicide investigator . Due to his brutal way of solving crimes, he repeatedly comes into conflict with the superiors of his presidium. Nevertheless, the new police chief assigns him the young and inexperienced Kikuchi, and it doesn't take long before the two of them investigate the murder of a well-known dealer together . At first Kikuchi doesn't get along with Azuma's direct and rude manner, but after a while he gets used to his experienced colleague.

In the course of their investigation, the two are able to convict a dealer who accuses Azuma's colleague and best friend Iwaki of being a drug supplier and trafficker who is supposed to sell stocks of seizures made by the police . A short time later, Iwaki is found hanged on a bridge. At first everything speaks for suicide , but Azuma does not want to be satisfied with that. After further research into the complicated case and further murders, he uncovered corruption within the police and links to the drug mafia around Yakuza boss Nito and his cold-blooded killer Kiyohiro. Azuma soon tracks down the killer of his best friend, Kiyohiro, but is unable to arrest him for lack of evidence. During a house search in Kiyohiro's apartment, a drug he himself was used as a reason to take him to the presidium, where he severely abused the killer. Because of repeated attacks on those under protection, he is dishonorably dismissed from the police force.

Azuma puts the case on hold until his mentally confused sister Akari, with whom he lives, is kidnapped and raped. He himself escapes an assassination attempt by Kiyohiro who, following his own interests, seeks a dispute with Azuma. Yakuza boss Nito then realizes that Kiyohiro is no longer acceptable for the organization due to a lack of loyalty and growing initiative and then separates from his hired killer. Without his protection, however, he soon becomes a victim of Azuma, who shoots him in cold blood and without saying a word in his headquarters and in front of his men. At the end of the film, Azuma and Kiyohiro duel in a warehouse, both seriously wounded. Azuma knocks Kiyohiro down and discovers his drugged sister. Akira does not recognize her brother because she can only crawl for syringes for her next shot. Azuma can't stand the sight and shoots his own sister. Just a few seconds later, he too is shot dead at close range by Nito's former right-hand man and legitimate successor at the scene.

In the epilogue you see Kikuchi receiving an envelope from the new Yakuza boss, who offers a good collaboration.


J. Hoberman from The Village Voice was of the opinion that Kitano as a performer would work a lot with body language , but in contrast to the young Mifune more with a rock-like ( a rock of concentration ). He thinks he noticed a smile on this version of Dirty Harry once or twice . The music would have been better off with the computer game Tetris . Dennis Schwartz followed suit insofar as the "somehow lovable monster cop" Azuma undoubtedly had a " psychotic attitude to his profession"

The lexicon of international film found that the filmmaker would "sometimes confirm the viewer's expectations, sometimes effectively fail"

Steve Rhodes, who did not like Violent Cop , described it as a character study beginning “which quickly degenerates into a collection of stylized acts of violence” and speaks of swelling, hideous brutality ( increasingly horrific violence ). He notes that Azuma doesn't even duck when he walks into a hail of bullets. Scott Macaulay spoke in Filmmaker Magazine in 1998 of a share of social criticism , comical nihilism , and a shocking ending. Bowyer and Choi noted “disturbing stoicism and “formal discipline” up to the “hellishly sinister finale” (p. 131).

Chuck Stephens mentioned in Film Comment a chaos (of society) that the film "both condemns and embraces"

“It's hard to pinpoint where the Violent Cop movie came from . [...] the film depicts a Japan in which practically everyone is a sociopath . Was Violent Cop intended as satire ? As a warning tale? "

- Scott Hamilton, Chris Holland : Stomp Tokyo 

B.Rebhandl about the yakuza in Violent Cop: "They lack something that would identify their actions as specifically human."

History of origin

Kinji Fukasaku originally wanted to make the film. He wanted to have Takeshi Kitano on the shoot as an actor for several weeks in a row, but he could not keep this schedule due to his television shows at the time. As a result, Takeshi and Fukasaku fell out, so the latter dropped the project. Okuyama, the producer, then asked, actually more jokingly, whether he would like to make the film. Kitano, who had long wanted to make a film, agreed. Kitano: "[...] my crew was just as afraid of me as I was of them." 

The staff was skeptical about Kitano at the beginning, so that he allegedly appeared in front of the team on the first day of shooting wearing a samurai costume. Above all, the way the new director adjusted the camera caused a sensation. The camera movements have been minimized. This would later also become typical of his films and clearly emphasize his own style. Kitano's minimalism also referred to his dialogues. Silent and still shots run through all of his films. In Japan the film was not a great success at first, while it quickly achieved cult status in Europe. 

Takeshi's comment on the film: “The problem was that I had never directed or studied it, even though I had seen quite a few films. There was a film crew who had been in the film industry for a long time and who had internalized the standardized methods. These methods were based on the influence of the West - moving the camera, different camera angles. The problem with moving the camera in Japan, however, is that whenever you move it, you have something in the picture that you don't want there. So I fought with the crew for a long time until I had these settings in the can almost without any movement. After the film came out, people said I had no idea about making films ”. 


A melody by Erik Satie went into the film music . 

The IMDb reports that the script in its rough draft would actually have been a comedy before Kitano took on it. Kitano is ascribed a metaphor according to which someone who slips on a banana peel feels violence, but for the viewer the whole thing would be a comedy

Kitano's cop has been compared to Clint Eastwood's stoic Dirty Harry figure or Jean-Pierre Melville's 1967 motionless The Ice Cold Angel and seen as the epitome of coolness. 


Takeshi Kitano won the Japanese Academy Award in 1990 for Most Popular Actor and was also nominated for Best Actor , but had to admit defeat Rentarō Mikuni , who was awarded for Rikyu, the tea master and Tsuribaka nisshi . He received the Nikkan Sports Film Award for Best New Talent for his directorial debut. He was honored in the category Best Director at the Yokohama Film Festival .


  • Justin Bowyer, Jinhee Choi: The Cinema of Japan and Korea . In: 24 frames . Wallflower Press, 2004, ISBN 1-904764-11-8 , pp. 129 ff . ( ).
  • Bernd Kiefer: [Article] Takeshi Kitano. In: Thomas Koebner (Ed.): Film directors. Biographies, descriptions of works, filmographies. 3rd, updated and expanded edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2008 [1. Ed. 1999], ISBN 978-3-15-010662-4 , pp. 393-396, here 394 [with references].

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Schadenfreude apparently not counted.
  2. Screaming & Kicking ( Memento from June 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Dennis Schwartz: "The audience gets a chance to watch Kitano smash punks around who would probably never receive their proper punishment." In: Ozus' World Movie Reviews. November 13, 1999, accessed on May 24, 2008 (English): "There was something very likable about Kitano's monster cop [...] psychotic in his approach to his job"
  4. a b Violent Cop. In: Lexicon of international films . Film service , accessed November 28, 2016 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. ^ Steve Rhodes: Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki (1989). In: IMDb , 1999, accessed on May 24, 2008 (English): “Starting off as a character study, the picture quickly degrades into just a collection of stylized acts of violence. [...] Walking into a hail of bullets, he doesn't even duck as he gets holes all over his body "
  6. ^ Scott Macaulay: Killing me softly. In: Filmmaker Magazine. 1998, accessed May 24, 2008 .
  7. ^ Chuck Stephens: Comedy plus massacre - the films of Takeshi Kitano. In: Film Comment. 1995, accessed on June 12, 2008 (English, from Kitano Takeshi .Com): "[…] mayhem the film both condemns and indulges"
  8. Scott Hamilton, Chris Holland: Violent Cop. In: Stomp Tokyo. March 9, 2000, accessed on May 24, 2008 : “It's tough to figure out where the movie Violent Cop came from. [...] the movie portrays a Japan in which practically everyone is a sociopath. What Violent Cop intended as a satire? A cautionary tale? "
  9. a b SONATINE ( Memento from November 21, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Bob Davis: Takeshi Kitano. In: Senses of Cinema. 2003, accessed May 24, 2008 .
  11. a b c Takeshi Kitano's Films - Violent Cop.Retrieved January 6, 2014 .
  12. Soundtracks for Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki (1989). In: IMDb ., Inc., accessed May 24, 2008 .
  13. This and that for Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki (1989). In: IMDb ., Inc., accessed May 24, 2008 .
  14. ^ Sonatine ( Memento of March 27, 2008 in the Internet Archive )