Midnight Movie Review: The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf (1979)

Let’s face it: We all sit at our desks at our day jobs wishing we could have a job that is far more exciting than our own and with much better pay. But what would happen if someone sat at their desk and dreamed about being a professional killer and descending into the underworld of organized crime with guns blazing? Worse yet, what if that person decided to make their dream come true?

That’s exactly what happens in the 1979 Japanese flick The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf. In the movie, the late, great ’80s Japanese film legend Yusaku Matsuda plays Tetsuya Asakura, an ordinary accountant working at a desk job for a major Japanese oil company. He comes to work everyday with his bagged lunch and briefcase and spends his day punching up numbers. He dreams of moving up the corporate ladder, but doesn’t want to spend years doing it.

At night, Asakura makes his dreams of becoming rich and powerful come true vis a vis his deadly alter ego. At night, he becomes a ruthless killer and con artist who has no problem robbing banks, blackmailing, drugging women, and killing on a massive scale. He carries out his nightly bouts of mayhem and violence and still manages to make it to work on time the next morning!

He decides to bring down the company that he works for during the day by joining forces with a drug syndicate to blackmail and rob the board of executives, but only finds himself embroiled in a nasty shooting war with this syndicate when they decide to renege on any deals made with him.

When he’s not blowing away bad guys, Asakura also finds time to fall in love with and seduce his boss’s mistress Kyoko (played by famed Japanese TV actress Jun Fubuki).While she may be infatuated with Asakura during the night, she passes by the desk of this seemingly-ordinary accountant during the daytime hours everyday without realizing who he really is.

Also in this movie is Japanese martial arts movie legend Sonny Chiba, who has a brief appearance as the company CEO’s nephew who is hired by his uncle to take down the vultures.

All in all this is a very brutal, hardcore action movie filled with gratuitious amounts of violence, nudity and sex. And according to Mark Schilling’s The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture (1997), it earned one million yen when it hit the Japanese big screen. All of this makes it a must-see action movie, especially for Japanese movie fans and/or Yusaku Matsuda fans. And of course for fans of ’70s movies, there’s the  ’70s fashions such as the curly wig and shades that Asakura wears plus the funky ’70s soundtrack!

Also, it’s safe to assume that this movie (as well as the book it was based on by Haruhiko Oyabu) is a parody and critique of the Japanese corporate and work culture, where ordinary employees of the big-name Japanese brands are traditionally expected be grateful to their bosses for their jobs, to fall in line behind others who have fairly or unfairly moved up the corporate ladder ahead of them, and are expected to make their jobs the biggest part of their lives right next to family.

The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf  is definitely a good choice for late-night movie viewing!

Also known as: The Return of the Golden Wolf ; Resurrection of Golden Wolf  (alternate English titles), Yomigaeru kinro/蘇る金狼 ” (original Japanese title)

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