A young man is on the run from the law, but before he goes down, he needs to settle the score with a Yakuza boss.
It was only a matter of time before I reviewed a Sogo Ishii title as I really enjoy his work, it's just a shame that getting ahold of a subtitled copy of his movies can be a bit of a challenge. Since I believe only 5 of his movies have legitimate releases with English subtitles. Sogo Ishii is considered to be godfather of Japanese Punk Cinema during the 70's and with his unique filmmaking style and the no-fear attitude he had when first starting out, it's easy to see why.
Here in the States nobody would dare to do something that would infringe copyright laws, as you would get slapped with a lawsuit faster than you could blink. For "Shuffle", the material came from a manga called "Run" in which Sogo Ishii enjoyed so much that he decided to make a short film based on it. Which would be only his 4th movie to date (as far as my knowledge goes) and went ahead and made the movie without permission from the original creator of "Run". Thankfully though, the short film adaptation was eventually approved.
There really isn't much to the story itself, which of course is going to happen with any short film as there really is only room for one plot line, rather than several. The movie revolves around a young man and the result of his actions towards his girlfriend and the Yakuza boss who exploits her. With the original material being titled "Run" and being a Sogo Ishii movie, you can guess that it does feature a lot of running. Well not a lot, there is really only one running scene in which our lead is trying to escape from the law. This foot chase actually takes up most of the film's length, but tells the story and helping the audience catch up through a series of flashbacks. Not only that, but also goes to show as to why our character can continue on for such a long run and why started a chain reaction of his life spiraling down into the gutters. Though in any movie, all chases scenes must come to an end and when it does, the climatic ending arrives with it, that is as tragic as it is chaotic.
While this may not be the most exciting story or the most popular of Sogo's movies, it is still an excellent short that not only demonstrates as to why he is synonymous with the punk era of Japanese cinema and his unique filmmaking style. It allows you to connect with a character who would be looked down upon as nothing more than some low-level street punk, but is rather one that was dealt a bad hand and resulting in making bad decisions out of love and anger.