Graveyard Of Honor

Graveyard Of Honor (1975)
VH1 Classic Records
Extras: Featurette, Interviews, Trailers, Filmography

Like the western Mafia movies, Asian cinema has a fascination for its gangster films. Whether it’s the Triad films from Hong Kong or the Yakuza movies from Japan, they always hit a popular nerve with audiences. Kinji Fukasaku’s ’Graveyard Of Honor’ is a an ultra-violent yakuza film so realistic that it almost borders on the documentary – weren’t it for the fictional characters and the narrative. Extremely stylish and powerful, he takes into the depths of the Japanese gangster underworld and shows us that the pride and honor of the yakuza are not always something to be proud of.

Home Vision Entertainment presents ’Graveyard Of Honor’ in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The print is free of defects and reveals a high level of detail. Although occasionally some dot crawl is evident in shadowy areas, the transfer is very faithful to the original and reproduces the images accurately. Colors are warm and rich – giving the film a remarkedly Asian look – and shadows are well defined with deep blacks. No edge-enhancement distracts from the presentation and the cmpression is also without artifacts.

The DVD contains the original stereo Japanese language track that is clean and without distortion. English subtitles complement the film for English language viewers. Fortunately Home Vision Entertainment didn’t even try to create an English dub as undoubtedly it would just have been distracting form the film and take away from its authenticity.

’A Portrait Of Rage’ is a 20-minute interview featurette that is included in the release in which fellow filmmakers as well as friend and family members of Kinji Fuksasaku offer their insight into his films and ’Graveyard Of Honor’ in particular.

Also included is a 1975 interview with assistant director Kenichi Oguri, taken on the set of the movie. Trailers for ’Graveyard Of Honor’ and other Fukasaku films are also included on the disc as well as the director’s filmography.

’Graveyard Of Honor’ is an action-laden gangster film that is very dark and unromantic in tone. It is as gritty as these films get and as such certainly an enrichment to the genre. Check it out some time.