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The Boss's Head
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Widescreen
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Japanese Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • Japanese PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • New Stories, New Battles, a new interviews with screenwriter Koji Takada, about his work on the film
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Boss's Head

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Kinji Fukasaku
1975 | 94 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $99.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: August 29, 2017
Review Date: August 28, 2017

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

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SYNOPSIS

In the early 1970s, Kinji Fukasaku's five-film Battles Without Honor and Humanity series was a massive hit in Japan, and kicked off a boom in realistic, modern yakuza films based on true stories. Although Fukasaku had intended to end the series, Toei Studio convinced him to return to the director's chair for this unconnected, follow-up trilogy of films, each starring Battles leading man Bunta Sugawara and telling separate, but fictional stories about the yakuza in different locations in Japan. In the second entry, The Boss's Head, Sugawara is Kuroda, an itinerant gambler who steps in when a hit by drug-addicted assassin Kusunoki (Tampopo's Tsutomu Yamazaki) goes wrong, and takes the fall on behalf of the Owada family, but when the gang fails to make good on financial promises to him, Kuroda targets the family bosses with a ruthless vengeance.


PICTURE

Arrow Video presents Kinji Fukasakuís The Bossís Head on Blu-ray in a new dual-format edition, available exclusively in their New Battles without Honor and Humanity Trilogy box set. The film receives a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode on a dual-layer disc, presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Arrow is using a master supplied to them from Toei.

Like New Battles Without Honor and Humanity this master comes from Toei and while it has some decent attributes to it itís still an incredibly mediocre presentation overall. Though the high-definition image certainly looks better than what DVD could deliver it still has a few issues. It can still have a fairly filmic texture to it but the image is rarely all that sharp, looking a bit muddled and fuzzy. This is further agitated by the black levels which are quite milky, crushing out details and making darker scenes harder to see.

Brighter scenes fair a bit better and there are some impressive colours at times, like reds and blues, but the film has a fairly dreary look, relying on grays and browns more, though this seems to be the filmís intended look.

Surprisingly the restoration work looks to have been quite thorough and I donít recall any severe source issues remaining at all. In this regard I was incredibly impressed but itís weakened by other aspects of the presentation.

6/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The Japanese 1.0 linear PCM track is a bit more a mess here. The first filmís soundtrack had some problems but was generally fine, about what I would have expected, but this track is more distorted in comparison, and everything about the track, from dialogue to music sounds, I donít know, blunt-er in comparison. Itís pretty rough.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow spreads special features over the three films in the box set. The Bossís Head only comes with one significant feature itself, a new interview with screenwriter Koji Takada, who was brought in to work on this film and the last one. For 12-minutes he talks about how the new trilogy compares to the original series and what he was able to contribute, addressing he had issues dealing with the one characterís addiction in the film. Itís brief but interesting enough and does continue on into the next disc.

The disc also includes a theatrical trailer and a teaser trailer. 2/10

CLOSING

Like the first film in the set itís a bit rough (particularly the audio) but it could be worse. Itís just a shame Arrow wasnít able to do their own thing with it.




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