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Film / Violent Cop

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Violent Cop is a 1989 film by Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano, as well as his directorial debut.

Opening up with the beating of a homeless person by a group of kids, we later see detective Azuma (played by Kitano himself) going at the house of one of the delinquents and violently threatening him to denounce himself. This scene illustrates the character of Azuma and how the rest of the film unfolds as he keeps using unorthodox methods in order to get what he wants.

But Azuma isn't a complete asshole. He also cares about his sister, who just got out of the hospital, and his colleague Iwaki whom he considers his friend. That's where a gang starts to cause trouble in Azuma's routine.

While this film was intended to be a classic detective story directed by Kinji Fukasaku, scheduling issues caused him to step down, and Kitano took over and rewrote most of the script. The final product is a police drama which departs heavily from Kitano's previous work.

This Film Provides Examples Of:

  • All for Nothing: Azuma gets this in several folds. He manages to kill Nito and Kiyohiro, seemly saving his sister only to find that she has become a drug addict and he just kills her anyway. Azuma then himself is just killed by Nito's henchman who takes over Nito's crime operation and continues to run it like how Nito was like clockwork
  • Anti-Hero: Azuma.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The scene in which a culprit single-handedly beats up a whole investigation team (which then follows with a long chase scene where they can't manage to catch up a running man with a car) is a notable proof of that.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: In a late fight scene, Kiyohiro tries to knife Azuma, but Azuma takes the stab in his hand.
  • Batter Up!: The running suspect grabs a bat and goes mayhem on a detective.
  • Berserk Button: You make a bad comment about Azuma's sister, he will make you pay for it. Kiyohiro did, and he almost got shot in the mouth.
  • Big Brother Instinct: In an obsessive way. Azuma cares about his sister to the point that he will keep a good eye on the guy she dates.
  • Blank Stare: Kiyohiro gives one to a raging Azuma after being taken back by his fellow detectives.
  • Character Title: Azuma can easily be pointed as the violent cop of his station.
  • Chase Scene: A rather special one, as cops try to catch a running suspect and, despite driving a car, fail multiple times at catching him.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Azuma doesn't mind seeing Kikuchi being beaten up by a suspect.
  • Content Warnings: The japanese title of the movie can be translated as "Warning: This Man is Wild" or "This man, because of his extreme violence [should not be approached]".
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Akari falls in a downward spiral of drug addiction, on top of being raped by Kiyohiro's gang
  • Cowboy Cop: Azuma.
  • Cynical Mentor: Azuma towards Kikuchi.
  • Damsel in Distress: Akari.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: The final action scene of the film.
  • Determinator: Azuma doesn't care about the rules, wether he wears his badge or not, he will find his way to fight crime.
  • Dirty Cop: Azuma, and it proves his status as a anti-hero. However, the police in this movie has its load of crooks.
  • Downer Ending: Azuma ends up killing Kiyohiro and his gang, but finds out that his sister has become a total drug addict. Out of desperation and insanity, he murders her and then gets gunned down by the gang leader's henchman. Afterwards, the henchman becomes the gang leader and Azuma's former assistant becomes a corrupted detective. In the end, crime wins.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Azuma interrogates Kiyohiro, he hands him his gun and suggests him to off himself.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's easier to count the number of non-violent characters in this film.
  • Evil All Along: Kikuchi.
  • Fingore: Happens to a drug dealer who gets tracked down by Kiyohiro who uses a knife on his fingers as he is hanging at the edge of a building.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Arguably one for cop movies with the Cowboy Cop archtype. Azuma is shown to be competent at his job and his supervisors put up with his violent, cowboy cop tendencies because of the fact he is good at his job. However his more aggressive style is shown to be no more effective then any cop going by the book. Azuma himself is shown not to really be any better of a person then the criminals he goes after and he is not some cool or noble anti-hero. It further gets deconstructed as it progress such as while his supervisors are initially willing to give Azuma leeway with his aggressive style, they eventually have to fire him when he goes to far in assaulting Kiyohiro and trying to plant evidence on him reminding people that there are actual consequences to behavior like this. Likewise the whole conflict between Azuma and Kiyohiro mainly escalates the way it does because of all of Azuma's reckless behavior.
  • Go Through Me: After a long chase scene, Azuma manages to track down a suspect and kicks him to the ground. Kikuchi tries his best to protect the suspect from Azuma.
  • Hand Stomp: After a drug dealer reveals to Azuma who he gets his drug from, Kiyohiro tracks him down and puts him hanging at the edge of a building. Kiyohiro uses a knife to make him fall, though.
  • Hard Boiled Detective: Azuma
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Azuma towards his sister Akari. Until the end of the movie.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Azuma doesn't mind doing it after tracking down an escaping suspect.
  • Let Me at Him!: After Kiyohiro made a foul comment on Azawa and his sister, Azawa tries to shoot down Kiyohiro until a group of other cops hold him back.
  • The Mole: Kikuchi.
  • Na├»ve Newcomer: Kikuchi.
  • Officially Shortened Title: While Violent Cop is the official title of the movie outside Japan, the film's japanese title can be referred as "Warning: This Man is Wild" or "This man, because of his extreme violence [should not be approached]".
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Azuma and Kikuchi.
  • One of the Kids: One detective in Azuma's investigation team pretends to guard an entrance only to play base-ball with children. Unfortunately, a running suspect comes up and beats the detective's head with the kids' bat.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Azuma's method of dealing with a kid who beat up a homeless man along with his friends.
  • Police Brutality: More precisely Azuma and his unethical methods of fighting crime.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Kikuchi towards Azuma
  • Rabid Cop: Azuma.
  • Rearrange the Song: The soundtrack contains a guitar rendition of Erik Satie's Gnossiennes.
  • Recurring Camera Shot: The movie shows Azuma crossing a bridge at the beginning. The same kind of shot features Kikuchi crossing the bridge at the end of the movie, and shows how he has taken Azuma's place.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: While Azuma and his crew try their best to catch a running suspect, smooth jazz music is played.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Azuma is given leeway with his supervisors with his violent rule breaking behavior and for most of the movie at worst just receives a minor scolding. However after Azuma viciously attacks Kiyohiro and tries to plant evidence on him in order to try and bust him, he is fired for his conduct. The supervisor will only tolerate so much before Azuma starts doing things that can get the whole department in trouble
    • Kiyohiro in the climax tells the gang that has Azuma's sister to grab some guns and get ready to shoot at Azuma. One of the members questions this so Kiyohiro just kills him. Does this get the other two to comply like you would see in most movies? Nope they are instead mad at Kiyohiro for killing one of their friends and one of them even tries to shoot and (unsuccessfully) kill Kiyohiro.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Azuma gives one to his sister when he finds out that she has become a drug-craving addict.
  • Turn in Your Badge: After Azuma crossed the line by provoking a criminal to act up against him.
  • Vigilante Man: Azuma.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Azuma demonstrates that at the beginning of film, by beating and threatening a child who beat up a homeless man with his friend.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Kiyohiro makes one offensive comment about Azuma's sister, and it's enough to make Azuma try to kill him.