We take a look at this brand new collection as it hits UK shelves for the first time…
In 1968, acclaimed director Toshio Masuda (Rusty Knife, Tora! Tora! Tora!) and rising star Tetsuya Watari (Tokyo Drifter) teamed up for Outlaw: Gangster VIP. The series offers up a depiction of the Japanese underworld that was unprecedented in its realism and its sympathetic portrayal of its protagonist as a man haunted by his past, unable to escape a life of crime.
The success of the initial instalment spawned five sequels, continuing the story of the lone wolf “Slasher” Goro and his quest for redemption. The films presented a new kind of realism and violence that would prefigure Kinji Fukasaku’s Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, with their winning combination of brutal violence, gang warfare and sweeping romance, these films make for a unique and unforgettable viewing experience. The set includes six films in the Outlaw series released for the first time in the west:Gangster VIP, Gangster VIP 2, Heartless, Goro the Assassin, Black Dagger, and Kill!
Audio and Visuals
This is one fine looking collection; great care has been taken to make sure that every frame looks its very best, if it wasn’t for the recognisable stylings of the time you could look at this and think it was made yesterday. Crucially the audio is also very detailed and crisp. We’re very pleased to give this the big thumbs up.
Impressive artwork and Arrow’s name go hand in hand, unsurprisingly then they have used Tonci Zonjic brand new artwork to produce the Blu-Ray’s really rather nice gatefold packaging. The menu system is top notch, slick and easy to navigate with a score and visual backdrop taken from the films which, for one is really rather special to watch, and which also sets up the films to come without heading into spoiler territory.
The extras available here are fairly comprehensive; you have an audio commentary by Jasper Sharp, a visual essay covering the entire series by Kevin Gilvear and a booklet featuring an interview with director Toshio Masuda by Mark Schilling, plus new writing by Schilling, Chris D and Kevin Gilvear. All of these extras are well thought out and informative, plus you have the standard inclusion of original trailers and promo images. Call us greedy though but when you have a release of this size we kind of were hoping for even more features. It’s not that they lack in scope, but just a few more interviews, retrospective look backs or something to pad out the release would have been the icing on top.
A very strong release. This great collection of films is handsomely presented and lovingly transferred to Blu-Ray. The slightly thin on the ground extras are a touch disappointing but this is still a very worthy purchase indeed.
Outlaw Gangster VIP: The Complete Collection is out today (18th April) on Blu-Ray, will you be grabbing yourself a copy? Let us know in the comment box below!