When I think of a film by Takeshi “Beat” Kitano, I think of machine gun fire. The machine gun fire I picture does not, however, come from a gun but from a bouquet of freshly cut birds of paradise.
That’s the sort of action film Kitano makes, though. He combines the minutiae of everyday life, its humor, and sudden bursts of intense violence into simple stories that often very attractively engulf that violence.
Boiling Point is not the exception. It tells the story of a gas station attendant, Masahiko (Yûrei Yanagi), who angers a Yakuza member by washing the man’s car in too day-dreamily a manner. Masahiko then passively enlists the aid of a former Yakuza member, Takahito Iguchi (Gadarukanaru Taka), who now coaches the bench-warming Masahiko and team at baseball. After Iguchi’s machismo backfires, Masahiko and a friend/teammate head off to Okinawa to procure a gun for their injured coach. While there, they encounter and are befriended by another member of the Yakuza, Uehara (Kitano), who is not currently in high standing with the Yakuza.
What Boiling Point seems to finally be about is life and the different ways people squander it. The ending may be open to more and deeper interpretation than I’m giving it, but it seems to me that Kitano (most famous in his native Japan for his comedic and television work) simply feels that the characters and stories in the film are no more than the things he sometimes purges from his colon.
What may surprise many people is the quality of material that Kitano is so often able to purge from that prolific colon of his.