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Blu-Ray Review: Well Go USA’s Bad City 

Bad City

Bad City is one of the best crime films you’ll see all year.  New to Blu-ray from Well Go USA

The Film 

The short version review of Bad City is, it remains true in 2023 as it was in 2022 when I saw this film for Fantastic Fest; Bad City is hands down the best crime film I’ve seen all year.  

Director Kensuke Sonomura has created a crime film that seethes with corruption, deception, and a cold calculating understanding that good guys don’t win.  The labyrinthine plot would be enough to keep you on the edge of your seat but adding in dazzling fight scenes sends this one over the top.  The cherry atop all this badass sundae is Hitoshi Ozawa who plays an ex-police captain turned inmate.    

It should be no surprise the fight scenes are next-level good.  Director Sonomura is the fight coordinator who choreographed the classic Nowhere Man and was the action director on 2022’s Baby Assassins.  In Bad City, he’s created grounding scenes of Gangsters and Cops using knives, bats, batons, and just about everything including Guns in some cases with their Jujitsu in brutal fisticuffs.  Though like all good fight scenes Bad City’s makes sure that they are all character and plot-based.  One will not only want to rewatch the film for the fights but how Sonomura and company were able to create stories and characters in those scenes. 

Just as complex as Bad City’s choreography is its ability to take the multilayered plot of political gains, corporate greed, Yazuka and Korean mafia turf war, and revenge and muscle it all into a propulsive sub-120-minute movie.  Part of the joy as a fan of crime films is watching Sonomura’s assured hand moving the chess pieces in place for the final third act.  A finale that culminates in a giant fight set piece so good, that this reviewer – by himself – stood up and slow clapped. 

The name Hitoshi Ozawa is a legend in Japanese V-Cinema (e.g. the Japanese direct-to-video market as it has become known).  Sonomura may have given the spry 60-year-old his best role to date as the grizzled fed-up man of few words Torada.  Ozawa devours the role giving us a truly amazing performance.  It’s not the moments of kicking ass – though those are crowd-pleasing – it’s the way Torada is a coiled snake waiting for the right time to strike.  One can only hope that Bad City is the beginning of a long fruitful relationship between Sonomura and Ozawa.  

The Transfer

The transfer by Well Go USA is a stunner.  The digitally shot film looks flawless on Blu-Ray.  The sharp image is consistent in its color reproduction and contrast levels.  It also remains free of any digital issues like ghosting or artifacting.  The result is a beautiful transfer that could only be leveled up by a release of a 4K UHD.  Bravo to Well Go USA for ensuring that this transfer like the film is a force to be reckoned with.  

The Extras

No extras were included in this release. 


The Final Thought 

Bad City is a truly great piece of crime fiction.  Highest Possible Recommendations!!

Well Go USA’s Blu-Ray edition of Bad City is out September 19th

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