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Black Tight Killers (Radiance Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Black Tight Killers (Radiance Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Radiance Films
    Released on: February 26th, 2024.
    Director: Yasuharu Hasebe
    Cast: Akira Kobayashi, Chieko Matsubara, Meiko Nishio
    Year: 1966
    Purchase From Amazon

    Black Tight Killers – Movie Review:

    The directorial debut of Seijun Suzuki protégé Yasuharu Hasebe, 1966's Black Tight Killers opens with a scene wherein a war photographer named Daisuke Hondo (Akira Kobayashi) does his best to capture the action during an intense battle. When his time in Vietnam is done, he boards the next plane back to Japan and, along the way, meets a beautiful young woman named Yuriko Sawanouchi (Chieko Matsubara) who works as a flight attendant.

    After they land in Tokyo, they go out for drinks where a gang of female ninjas, sporting matching black tights and looking weirdly sexy, wind up kidnapping poor Yuriko, using vinyl records as weapons to keep anyone who might want to stop them at bay! A man at the bar is killed in the ensuing fray and Daisuke is assumed to be the assailant by the local authorities. Before the cops can haul him away for murder, a friend of his shows up just in time to provide an alibi, which keeps him out of the clink and allows him to launch an investigation of his own.

    From here, Daisuke takes it upon himself to try and track down Yuriko but any time it seems like he's found a clue and maybe getting a little closer to find out here whereabouts, those pesky titular black tight killers – who are prone to bouts of go-go dancing at the drop of a hat - show up and make trouble for him... except when they help him. Along the way, Daisuke gets wrapped up in a plot to hornswoggle a secret stash of gold that was squirrelled away at the Second World War that ties into Yuriko’s family.

    As visually stunning as it is decidedly weird and, at times, creatively kinky (we get some body painting, light bondage and tricky vaginally-themed interrogation techniques!), Black Tight Killers is an absolute blast from start to finish. A film that makes wild use of bold color schemes in almost every one of its set pieces and that is quite literally named after and highlighted by a sextet of beautiful women clad in black tights and black leather boots that seem to enjoy provocative dance as much as they do assassination attempts, it moves at a quick pace and provides plenty of thrills, chills and spills.

    Akira Kobayashi is a lot of fun in the lead role, throwing himself into the part with an effortlessly cool demeanor that really suits his character perfectly. He handles himself well in the film’s frequent action set pieces and has a solid chemistry with leading lady Chieko Matsubara. She also handles her role very well, and it’s hard not to really like her character in this movie.

    Ultimately, the film moves quickly and easily holds our attention throughout. The visuals are its strongest asset but everything else works really well too. The score is excellent and the film’s use of music is second only to its use of color. Black Tight Killers is a seriously fun film, and one that, once you see it, you won’t soon forget.

    Black Tight Killers – Blu-ray Review:

    Black Tight Killers arrives on Blu-ray from Radiance Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer provided by Kadokawa Corporation framed at 2.28.1 widescreen taking up just under 22.3GBs of space on the 25GB disc. The transfer is a very good one, presenting the film in very nice shape. Colors are reproduced nicely, frequently really popping, and quite accurately and the image is free of any noise reduction or edge enhancement issues. The picture is very clean, showing really no real print damage at all while retaining the expected film grain. Detail is quite nice, looking pretty impressive most of the time. Compression artifacts are never a problem and there’s good depth and texture to take in. The movie looks great in high definition.

    The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit LPCM 2.0 Mono track in Japanese with optional subtitles provided in English only. Dialogue is clean, clear and easy to listen to and the film’s fantastic score sounds excellent. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the levels are balanced nicely. The subtitles are easy to read and free of any noticeable typos.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary by Jasper Sharp that covers a lot of ground such as the film's explosive opening sequence, where Nikkatsu was at during this period and their work in the action film arena, Yasuharu Hasebe's career and his work with Seijun Suzuki, the source material/novel that the movie was adapted from, details on the different cast and crew members that worked on the picture, the different global influences that worked their way into the movie (spy films and Bond films in particular), the strength of the lighting and the visuals in the movie, the striking use of color in the film, the pop art and comic book style of the movie and plenty more.

    Up next is an archival interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe. Recorded in 2000, this nine minute interview sees him talk about how he became interested in and got his start in the film industry, joining Nikkatsu, starting as an assistant director, working with Seijun Suzuki and the influence that had on his career, how he came to make Black Tight Killers, the film's score and some of his personal favorite Nikkatsu movies.

    The disc also includes a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection options.

    As to the packaging, once again Radiance supplies, with the first pressing, some really nice reversible sleeve artwork featuring newly commissioned artwork on one side and art from the original Japanese theatrical poster on the reverse. This release also comes packaged with a limited edition full-color booklet featuring an essay on the film by Chris D. titled ‘Yasuharu Hasebe And Black Tight Killers’ as well as some cast and crew info and notes on transfer. This limited edition first pressing is being pressed in 3,000 copies and comes with a removable Obi strip, which is a nice touch.

    Black Tight Killers - The Final Word:

    Quick in its pacing and delivered with a great sense of humor, Black Tight Killers is a pop art masterpiece that’s absolutely worth tracking down, and this new Blu-ray edition from Radiance Films is an excellent way to experience the movie. Highly recommended!



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Black Tight Killers Blu-ray screen caps!

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