Monthly Archives: June 2016

Special Tactical Police: Part 2

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Special Tactical Police: Part 2 (Japan, 1963)
The second and final Special Tactical Police film. Once again the detectives lead by Toru Abe investigate a tricky case; this time the poisoning of a diva-like fashion model. The formula is familiar from the previous film: plenty of talk until the case solves itself just before the climax. What makes the sequel a notch better than the first movie is the final 10 minutes, which packs the kind of emotion and intensity that were largely missing from the first film. The movie also comes with occasional beautifully shots that capture the early 60s urban landscapes and noirish detectives via black & white widescreen cinematography. Sonny Chiba’s role is unfortunately once again quite minor. Although he has a decent amount of screen time, he only has a handful of lines.

* Original title: Tokubetsu kido sosatai: Tokyo eki ni harikome (特別機動捜査隊 東京駅に張り込め)
* Director: Koji Ohta
* Chiba’s role: Small supporting role
* Film availability: None. Review Format: TV

The detectives arrive the crime scene

Abe

Chiba in the background

I think this is a simple, yet gorgeous shot

Chiba

Ready for the next job. Chiba in the front seat

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Special Tactical Police

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Special Tactical Police (1963)
One of the longest running detective series in Japanese television (801 episodes, from 1961 to 1977), Special Tactical Police was also extended to silver screens in 1963 with two feature films. Both films ran approximately one hour and were released as b-features in theatrical double bills. One can assume they did not prove as popular as the television show as only two films were produced. The first film opens with a woman seemingly committing a suicide by throwing herself under a train. The police, however, suspect things aren’t as simple as they seem. Plenty of dialogue driven police work follows until the case is solved.

The television show could easily be compared to the Police Department Story film series, with which shared theme, format, and screenwriter. The feature films, however, utilized a different writer and a new cast, oddly enough playing the same characters that appeared in the television show. Sonny Chiba is the first billed in the opening credits; yet he is given very little to do in the film and mostly takes the back-seat as one of the detectives. The real star is head detective Toru Abe in a rare good guy role; most fans remember him from yakuza films, in which he nearly always played a back-stabbing, slimebag gang boss.

Special Tactical Police competent enough from a technical point of view, but it does tend to lean too much on talk instead of visual storytelling. It feels less cinematic, and more like a television-like compared to the best Police Department Story films.

* Original title: Tokubetsu kido sosatai (特別機動捜査隊)
* Director: Koji Ohta
* Chiba’s role: Small supporting role

Crime scene

Toru Abe drinking coffee; Chiba on the left

Harumi Sone

Chiba, Abe and Hitomi Nakahara

There’s a lot of taking on car phone in the two films…

Chiba