SHAMO

V'11

SHAMO

Shamo – The Ultimate Fighter

Soi Cheang
Hongkong/Japan, 2007
Fiction, 105min, OmeU

SHAMO

Soi Cheang
Hongkong/Japan, 2007
Fiction, 105min, OmeU

Cast: 
Shawn Yue
Ryo
Dylan Kuo
Yamazaki
Masato
Naoto
Francis Ng
Kenji
Bruce Leung
Konozuke
Annie Liu
Megumi
Ishibashi Ryo
Saeki
Pei Pei
Natsumi
Chau Ka Sing
Fujiyoshi
Cast: 
Martial Arts
Wong Wai Leung
Screenplay: 
Hashimoto Izo
Szeto Kam Yuen
Sound: 
Phyllis Cheng
David Wong
Camera: 
Fung Yuen Man
Editor: 
Kong Chi Leung
Composer: 
Patrick Lo
Decoration: 
Silver Cheung
Costume: 
Silver Cheung

Production: 
Art Port, Same Way Productions Pony Canyon
Format: 
35 mm
Color

Shamo is based on a manga by Hashimoto Izo, but relocated to Hong Kong for this film. It tells the story of Ryo, who is sent to prison at the age of sixteen for the brutal murders of his parents. While inside, he’s initially gang-raped, but soon meets karate master Kenji, who molds him into an extraordinary fighter. Upon release (he was sentenced as a juvenile), he just wants to find his sister Natsumi, whom he fears has fallen into a life of vice, much as he has. He finds prostitute Megumi instead, and enters the world of martial arts to try and raise his profile so that Natsumi can find him, which exposes him to a whole new group of characters: Naoto, the reigning champion; Konuzuke, the man behind the “Lethal Fight” league; Fujiyoshi, the big guy who becomes Ryo’s manager, and Yamazaki, the half-blind trainer trying to start a competing, less corrupt organization. Ryo is a fine anti-hero: He’s got a hair-trigger temper, and even before that’s set off there’s not much that comes out of his mouth that doesn’t sound like a threat. (...) For the urban scenes Soi Cheang uses a combination of deep blacks and sickly yellows. The fights are well-staged even though they’re not pretty or graceful; raw hunger and rage make up for it. There are only one or two moments that go for any sort of sentimentality, but Cheang manages to walk the line between Shamo being dark and exciting and it being any sort of celebration of nastiness. (Jay Seaver)