Minbo: the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion (1992)

Minbo: the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion (1992)

Alternatively, a hilarious, satiric guide to dealing with pesky organized crime

The Very Best

8.3

Movie

Japan
Japanese
Comedy, Crime
1992
JŪZŌ ITAMI
Akio Tanaka, Akira Nakao, Akira Takarada
123 min

TLDR

Gotta lower down the volume on this one, though, with all the yelling.

What it's about

Hoping to win a lucrative contract for the upscale Hotel Europa, the owner needs to get rid of the yakuza extorting them. To do so, the hotel reassigns Suzuki, an accountant, and bell boy and former sumo club member Wakasugi, to drive the yakuza away, and all their attempts fail until they meet the brilliant lawyer Mahiru Inoue.

The take

Without context, Minbo, or the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion seemed like a goofy satire, especially when the silly trumpet score pops up, and unfortunate hotel employees Suzuki and Wakasugi flounder around trying to solve the hotel’s yakuza problem on their own. And when Nobuko Miyamoto shows up as the brilliant lawyer, it’s so satisfying to see her turn the tables on the yakuza purely through words, strategy, and knowledge of law. It’s hilarious, but Minbo doesn’t just poke fun– it demystifies the gangster as a cool and untouchable figure, portraying them instead as loudmouthed bullies that we can handle. It also shows us how much can be done, only if we, as a group, perhaps as a whole nation, can muster the courage to fight.

What stands out

Juzo Itami was attacked by the yakuza due to them being offended by their portrayal in this film, and the same gang claimed that they were behind his death five years later. This does dampen the comedy, but on the other hand, it makes this film even more outstanding. It’s already tough to make a film about organized crime, but it’s also much harder and much more braver to show them as they really are in such a joyous manner.

Comments

Add a comment

Your name

Your comment

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

Rain (2019)

A girl finds true love in this unusual, marvelous, rain-soaked coming-of-age drama

8.1

The Guilty (2018)

A minimalist, razor-sharp thriller that will have you gasping for air.

9.0

Bad Lands (2023)

A subtle Japanese crime thriller that coolly pulls off its long con

7.2

Tampopo (1985)

A bemusing delicious food comedy dubbed as the first Ramen Western

9.0

One Cut of the Dead (2017)

A one-of-a-kind Japanese zombie comedy that takes the genre to another dimension

7.8

A Letter to Momo (2012)

A quirky coming-of-age animated journey of grief, accompanied by cute, ugly yokai creatures

7.0

Once Upon a Crime (2023)

There’s no justice when Little Red Riding Hood plays detective in this campy Japanese murder mystery

5.5

Hard Days (2023)

A detective has a series of terrible, horrible days in this decent Japanese thriller remake

7.0

Colors of Evil: Red (2024)

A gory and fluffy crime drama hiding behind nonlinear storytelling

5.5

Stand and Deliver (1988)

An inspirational, if a bit embellished, depiction of a maverick math teacher

7.4

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2024 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.