Shamo – The Ultimate Fighter
Soi Cheang
Hongkong, Japan 2007
105 min

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)

  • 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
  • Szeto Kam Yuen
  • Hashimoto Izo
  • Fung Yuen Man
  • Phyllis Cheng
  • David Wong
  • Kong Chi Leung
  • Patrick Lo
  • Silver Cheung
  • Silver Cheung
  • Wong Wai Leung
Art Port, Same Way Productions Pony Canyon
Arclight Films
35 mm
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