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The acclaimed director of Battles Without Honor and Humanity and Battle Royale had his biggest hit with this funny and suspenseful satire of the Japanese film industry.
Our massive retrospective of Kinji Fukasaku's films a decade ago did not include Fall Guy, though it was the revered director's greatest hit in Japan, the number-one box-office draw of the year, and won the country's equivalent of the Academy Award® for best picture. A funny and suspenseful satire of the movie industry, Fall Guy has often been compared to Richard Rush's The Stunt Man, though some critics claim it goes further in revealing the artifice behind the illusions of filmmaking. Two rival actors are hired for a second-rate samurai film, each bringing his pals and posses to fill every possible stunt and bit role, in order to assure that his supporters are always on set. As the competition between the two stars over screen time, close-ups, and killing scenes escalates, an ambitious stunt man from one of their entourages decides to make his bid for stardom, even if it literally kills him in the process. "Like the director's masterpiece, Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Fall Guy exposes the injustices visited on honest, hard-working men serving corrupt and undeserving bosses . . . [and as] always[,] his kinetic, visceral style remains jaw-dropping" (Midnight Eye).