GUYS FROM PARADISE, THE

GUYS FROM PARADISE, THE
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Description

GUYS FROM PARADISE, THE
AKA: Tengoku kara Kita Otokotachi

Region 0 (ALL REGION PLAY / NO REGION CODE) - NTSC Format *CUSTOM DVD*


Year:
2001

Running Time:
115 min approx.

Starring:
Koji Kikkawa, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nene Otsuka

Directed by:
Takashi Miike

Takashi Miike directs this wild and woolly prison drama, reportedly based on real-life cases of Japanese imprisoned abroad. Set in the Philippines, the film revolves around elite salary man Kohei Hayasaka (played by former pop star Koji Kikkawa, who also did the music for the film), sent to the clink after being falsely accused of trafficking a kilo of heroin.


Sporting an expensive suit and designer luggage, he recoils at the teaming squalor of his new accommodations. Fortunately, for a fee, he and his fellow Japanese compatriots live in somewhat better digs, including a refrigerator, some straw mats, and an absolute nightmare of a toilet. When he learns that his company is not willing to front the money to spring him from jail, he learns to adapt to his new environment, where rules mean little but money means a lot.

A fellow Japanese inmate, a gangster (Tsutomu Yamazaki), soon hires Kohei — offering him a handsome salary and the use of his pristine toilet — to help him run drugs on the outside, with the warden's blessing. Just as the gangster's past is starting to catch up to him, he, Kohei, and all the other Japanese inmates manage to break out during a prison riot.


Though not as flamboyantly weird as his masterpiece Dead or Alive, Takashi Miike is yet another enjoyably tweaked genre delivered with astonishing aplomb. Compared to some of his other films, this film seems almost family fare. While other works, like his City of Lost Souls illustrates the plight of foreigners living in Tokyo, this film inverts this formula by showing Japan's place in the world at large.


Guys from Paradise paints a lurid portrait of the Philippines as a grubby, corrupt place that nevertheless has a vitality that Japan has forgotten during its push for economic prosperity. Miike artfully crystallizes this during Kohei's first exposure to his new place of residence; decked out in the fineries of the money-classed, Kohei is wide-eyed with revulsion at the grabbing desperate hands of his fellow Filipino inmates.


Miike seems to argue that only by coming to terms with these savage yet distinctly Asian roots will Japan be able to advance beyond the malaise of the 1990s, as made clear in the film's hoot of an ending.


Video: 16:9 Enhanced / 1.85:1 / Widescreen / Letterboxed Version
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Language: Japanese Language

Subtitles: Removable English Subtitles


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