Kamikaze Taxi

1995 Action/Adventure | Drama | Suspense/Thriller

Masato Harada tackles the racism experienced by South American-born, ethnically Japanese returnees in this two-fisted crime drama and road movie. The film centers on Tatsuo (Kazuya Takahashi) -- a low-level, short-tempered gangster moving up in the pimping business. Yet, when he sends out his one and only hooker (Reiko Kataoka) to service a wizened politician, she returns beaten, battered, and bruised. When Tatsuo's girlfriend complains, she is killed by crime boss Animaru (Mickey Curtis) as Tatsuo is forced to look on. Seeking revenge, he and his posse trash the politician's house and swipe a stack of yen. In retaliation, Tatsuo's own bosses put a hit out on them. After a bloody shoot out in a forest, the protagonist is the only one to emerge alive. He hails a cab with the aim of making a suicide run at the gang's HQ, but the cabbie proves to be a Peruvian returnee (Koji Yakusho), who speaks in a strange accent and can't read a Japanese map. Though at first the driver seems wide-eyed and innocent, he reveals an inner strength in chaotic situations. Soon the two seem less like a passenger and driver and more like two allies in the same beleaguered army.~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

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