Downtown Tokyo, Detective Azuma (Takeshi Kitano) makes a house call on a vicious teenage hoodlum.. He by-passes the kid’s parents, methodically bounces him off the walls for a while, and ever so persuasively suggests that he turn himself in to the police the next morning. It’s not orthodox but effective. That’s Azuma’s way.
‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano is a celebrity in Japan, an author, comedian and TV personality. He played Sgt. Hara in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, but added ‘Director’ to his credits in 1989 with this crisp, compelling movie about a cop on the edge. Takeshi makes Azuma – taciturn, earnest, very much his own man – the perennial existential anti-hero: bruised and bruising. In three or four extended sequences we watch just how he walks: a dogged, head down trudge through the mean streets. He’s on his way out and he knows it ; he keeps on keeping on. His superiors on the force are losing patience; his few friends are becoming scarcer. Then there’s Kiyohiro, a psychotic hitman who has Azuma in his sights.
The Takeshi credo is unlikely to appeal to soft hearts: ‘really tough guys don’t experience a lot of tension’, he claims. ‘By nature they’re cool’. That certainly applies to the dry, charismatic Azuma. Claiming to feel no guilt over an innocent bystander he shoots, he cracks ‘I was aiming for him.’ However, the bravado doesn’t dispel the underlying despair – Takeshi relishes these brutal oppositions. Clint fans take note; the monie’s called Violent Cop and that’s what its about.