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On Film4: 17 Dec 11:00AM
A Tokyo-set noir about a gang who rob US ammunition trains and the men who try to capture the men responsible, written and directed by the indefatigible Sam Fuller
A lesser-known effort from Sam Fuller (of Shock Corridor, Run Of The Arrow and The Naked Kiss fame), House Of Bamboo stars Robert Stack as the US strongman brought to the Orient to bring some not-so-great train robbers to justice.
Featuring exotic Tokyo settings and crisp colour cinemtography, the film is anchored by Stack and co-star Robert Ryan whose macho double act is amongst the finest in all heist cinema. However, the plot, while boasting many exciting twists and turns, also has a fair number of holes and is convoluted in spite of its attempts to make a salient point about post-WWII relations between the US and Japan.
Alas the attempt to mix heist action with serious social drama doesn't quite work, with the latter getting in the way of what might otherwise have been a cracking, balls-to-the-wall gangster flick.
An underrated crime drama, House Of Bamboo might not be the sum of its parts, but there's still a lot to like about it, not least Fuller's unsentimental approach to the subject matter.
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