The final entry in the campy samurai trilogy about a preternaturally well-endowed, corruption-fighting Japanese police constable, THE RAZOR: WHO'S GOT THE GOLD? is reasonably engaging, but is probably the crudest and least interesting of the series. The film received its first official
US release on home video in 1998.
In feudal Japan, police constable Hanzo "The Razor" Itami (Shintaro Katsu) discovers that gold is being smuggled out of the Shogunate treasury and goes after the mastermind behind the scheme. When Elder Hotta, a powerful government official, orders Itami to arrest a physician named Sugino for
claiming that Western weapons are superior to those of the Japanese military, Itami instead befriends the man and learns that he only has one month to live. Itami hides Sugino at his home and asks him to build a Western-style cannon. Itami then tells Hotta that Sugino has escaped, but promises to
capture him in one month. Itami has his servants tail a suspiciously wealthy blind High Priest named Ishiyama, and learns that he loans money to poor samurai and then charges them exorbitant interest, and that he lives in a luxurious mansion protected by guards. Itami sneaks into Ishiyama's house
and overhears him planning another gold robbery from the treasury. He also observes an orgy in which young blind priests have sex with a group of neglected royal wives, one of whom is Lady Yumi, the wife of Elder Hotta.
Meanwhile, Hanzo's samurai friend Heisuke is killed by one of Ishiyama's guards for defaulting on a loan and refusing to turn over a priceless spear in lieu of payment. Itami sneaks into Lady Yumi's bedroom and has sex with her while Ishiyama is there. Hiding under the bedsheets, Itami sees the
priest give Heisuke's spear to Elder Hotta as a bribe to get a "loan" from the treasury. When Itami goes to Ishiyama's house and accuses him of stealing gold, Ishiyama's guards attack Itami, but he kills them all. Instead of arresting Ishiyama, he orders him to destroy all of the loan contracts
which he's made to the samurai. Itami also takes the copper roof tiles from Ishiyama's mansion and gives them to Sugino, who melts them down to build his cannon. Itami and the dying Sugino take the cannon to Elder Hotta's house and use it to fire at him and his guards. Itami then takes the stolen
spear from Hotta and uses it to slay the samurai who killed Heisuke.
The "Razor" series--with its outrageous premise of an incorruptible cop who rapes female suspects (who all love it) with his freakishly large member--is an undeniably entertaining blend of samurai swordplay and softcore kinkiness, but THE RAZOR: WHO'S GOT THE GOLD? is the weakest of the series due
to its prosaic execution. The story touches on some interesting topics, such as samurai becoming corrupted, and the plight of Japanese women who are tossed aside by their husbands once they reach the age of 30, but the mystery plot is overly complicated and not very surprising. Apart from the
opening scene where Hanzo rapes the "ghost" who's found near the treasury, the sex scenes are actually discreet in comparison to the earlier entries. Yet because the film is less stylish than its predecessors, and its script more vulgar, the overall effect seems much more lurid, resulting in an
exploitative debasement of the samurai genre, which is further exacerbated by the egregiously anachronistic 1970s pop-music score (even copying "Jumpin Jack Flash" at one point!). As Itami, Shintaro Katsu's performance is as enjoyably tongue-in-cheek as ever, but director Yoshio Inoue's staging
of the swordfights lacks panache and his handling of the sexual elements is coarse and heavy-handed. (Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1974
- Rating: NR
- Review: The final entry in the campy samurai trilogy about a preternaturally well-endowed, corruption-fighting Japanese police constable, THE RAZOR: WHO'S GOT THE GOLD? is reasonably engaging, but is probably the crudest and least interesting of the series. The fi… (more)