Tokyo Fist (1995)

tokyo fist poster 1995 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Intense visuals and story with potential

Story is a bit convoluted and difficult to follow character paths

Movie Info

Movie Name: Tokyo Fist

Studio:  Kaijyu Theater

Genre(s): Sport/Action/Adventure/Horror

Release Date(s):  August 1995 (Locarno Film Festival)/October 21, 1995 (Japan)/May 22, 1998 (US)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

tokyo fist kojima takuji koji tsukamoto


Beaten by his former friend Kojima Yakuji (Kōji Tsukamoto) in front of his fiancée Hizuru (Kahori Fujii), mild-mannered Tsuda Yoshiharu (Shinya Tsukamoto) finds himself on a quest for revenge against Kojima.  Training his body to the max to box against Kojima, Tsuda seeks to prove himself to Hizuru who has also gone on her own path of discovery.  With the ring beckoning them, Tsuda and Kojima are headed to an unstoppable clash…and not everyone may walk away.

Written and directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, Tokyo Fist (東京フィスト) is a Japanese boxing body horror film.  The film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in August 1995 and received mixed to positive reviews.

Shinya Tsukamoto is an extreme director.  The movies don’t always make sense, can be stomach churning, and are very visceral and violent.  Tokyo Fist is no exception and the combining of Shinya’s style with a sports film is a strange twist.

tokyo fist hizuru tsuda yoshiharu fight shinya tsukamoto kohori fujii

Love is beating the crap out of each other in a parking garage…

The story is quite difficult to follow.  You have the two former friends who witnessed a murder, take different paths in life, and end up coming head-to-head in the ring.  There is a lot of toxic masculinity being flexed in the movie, but with the realization that it is literally toxic to the two characters.  This is intermixed with the story of Hizuru who jumps from one friend to another denied any life of her own.  She is also lashing out like her two “lovers” (you could argue that neither really is) and the bitter, painful love triangle essentially takes them all down.

Shinya Tsukamoto who generally appears in his own films casts himself as the salesman turned rage-filled fighter Tsuda while his brother Kōji Tsukamoto is cast as the man who seems to be the genuine fighter, but who is actually filled with doubt.  Kahori Fujii has the toughest role because she has to balance the two male characters while trying not to come off as flighty or indecisive.  It doesn’t always work, but she does have a great blankness to her stare to also implies an emptiness that cannot be filled.

tokyo fist koji tsukamoto kojima takuji wins fight

The face of victory!

Regardless if you like the story or characters, the visuals largely are a reason to turn on a Shinya Tsukamoto film.  Like previous films by the director Tokyo Fist has a real energy to it, and the energy also has blood guts and intense visuals.  The movie can really be stomach churning, but at the same time so over-the-top that there is an intentional lack of realism.

Tokyo Fist is decent, but you definitely should watch a few other Shinya Tsukamoto films before this one so you know what you are getting yourself into.  If you approach it as a standard movie, you are likely going to be confused or disappointed (but still probably intrigued by the visuals).  It is a type of movie you might want to watch one or two times after the first viewing to lock down some of the story and character arcs…but the hits will still land even if you watch it once.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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