Combustible Celluloid
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With: Akira Kobayashi, Hideki Takahashi, Ryoji Hayama, Kazuo Kitamura, Katsue Takaishi, Hiroshi Nawa, Asao Uchida
Written by: Shuichi Nagahara, based on a novel by Haruhiko Oyabu
Directed by: Motomu Ida
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: Japanese, with English subtitles
Running Time: 84
Date: 03/18/2013

3 Seconds Before Explosion (1967)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Jewels of Denial

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Like Seijun Suzuki's Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards (1963), this movie also comes from a novel by Haruhiko Oyabu. It contains some similar elements, such as our secret agent hero trying to infiltrate a nest of criminals; the criminals continually put him to any number of tests to prove his loyalty. There's also a nightclub scene with singing! The plot here involves a huge cache of stolen jewels and gold bars, which were confiscated at the end of World War II. Apparently, claims to the treasure expire in a matter of days and whoever winds up standing in the possession of the jewels gets to keep them. Superspy Yabuki (Akira Kobayashi) goes undercover with the bad guys, but discovers that an old colleague, Yamawaki (Hideki Takahashi), has been hired to hide and protect the jewels from all interested parties. They spend the first half of the film fighting, but -- as if in a John Woo film -- they eventually join forces. Director Motomu Ida was no Seijun Suzuki, and the action scenes here are very rough and fumbled, but I found this one more ludicrously entertaining than the more polished effort. Kino released the excellent DVD in 2009 with trailers and a still gallery.

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