I just got the Criterion Collection’s Nikkatsu Noir series and the first flick I watched was 1967’s “A Colt Is My Passport”. It stars Joe Shishido, this dude with freakin’ cheek implants that make him look like a chipmunk. It’s kinda silly but also makes him look absurdly cool at the same time.

The idea is simple. Shishido plays a hitman hired to assassinate a mob boss. He takes the guy out but his henchmen get wind of him and plan to exact revenge. At first the guys who hired him try to get him out of the country but they relent to cooperating with their rivals and cast off the hired gun in exchange. So our man’s on his own, even if he has a useless sidekick or a forlorn woman dreaming of kissing his enlarged cheekbones. (He actually really got them enlarged with plastic surgery for real, like that’s not prosthetic, that’s what he looks like at home in his jammies real.)

So instead of running or hiding, Shishido decides he’s gonna fight. Hence the title, even if he doesn’t use a colt. Suffice to say, I think most people would know what a colt is. Our guy uses a shotgun, a rifle and a beretta. I think most of the film is pretty good, interesting shots, good action and a simple story plus you just gotta feel for a guy who frowns so much but still has stupid huge cheeks.

I really liked the action scenes in this film. There’s this pretty cool shot where the lead character stands at a wharf whilst his partner drives a car into the drink, somersaulting out at the last moment. The final scene is sick as hell too, from the buildup till the showdown. It’s so bloody awesome.

In many ways, I think the film played out more like a spaghetti western with Japanese yakuza and hitmen instead of cowboys and indians. The music, for a start was defo more spag west than noir. Then there’s the fact that there’s a sidekick who’s absolutely useless. Or the final showdown gunfight scene. You don’t get that in most noirs. Oh and if I was to spoil the film, the conclusion isn’t very noirish either.

I still can’t get over the cheeks man. They’re HUGE. For reference I’ve included a photo and trailer.

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