Monday Movie: Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards, by David Bax
Every Monday, we’ll recommend a movie–it could be a classic, an overlooked recent treasure, an unfairly maligned personal favorite or whatever the hell we feel like–and we’ll tell you where to find it online.
Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards was made four years before director Seijun Suzuki’s best known work, Branded to Kill, but it’s clear his passion for brightly colored gonzo violence was already in place. In this film, things kick off with a cacophonous opening shootout that leaves at least a dozen men and untold glass bottles of Pepsi full of bullet holes. And that’s just the beginning. I’d compare Suzuki’s use of shootouts to numbers in a musical but, with the lead character’s girlfriend being a nightclub singer, there actually are a bunch of musical numbers too.
In between those, we’re treated to the same kind of jazzy score Suzuki used in other movies like the earlier, frenzied young adult sex melodrama Everything Goes Wrong. The plot of Go to Hell Bastards would be the least consequential thing about the movie if anything at all felt consequential but it’s mainly about private detective Hideo Tajima (Jo Shishido) going undercover to infiltrate the yakuza, a task he’s either perfectly or terribly suited to do given that he already dresses flashier than James Bond (perhaps not the best choice of wardrobe for a P.I.).
You could, if you wanted to be a bummer about it, accuse Go to Hell Bastards of being uneven. But, what, you’re gonna complain about a movie that’s a fiesta of kiss kiss bang bang sing sing dance dance and, oh yeah, takes place at Christmastime to boot? Apparently, there was a sequel but Suzuki didn’t direct it. He was already on to new things.
Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards is available to rent on Amazon.