“Hell Dogs” is the latest Japanese movie directed by Masato Hadara, who’s well-known in the industry for his movies like “The Last Samurai,” starring “Mission Impossible” star Tom Cruise, “Inugami,” “Chronicle of My Mother,” and more. With “Hell Dogs,” Masato conveys the story of an ex-cop who gets a second chance in life after he has been dispatched to the underbelly of the criminal underworld again. Junichi Okada steals the show with his somber look, innovative combat styles, and convincing portrayal of “Shogo Kanetaka,” complimented by the excellent performances by Kentaro Sakaguchi as Jideki Murooka, Mayu Matsuoka as Emiri Kisa, Miyavi as Yoshitaka Toake, Kazuki Kitamura as Tsutomu Toki, Yoshi Sako as Chief Anai, and Yasumasa Oba as Chuji Omaeda.
‘Hell Dogs’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Movie?
Goro Idejuki is an expelled Japanese cop, haunted by trauma and depression after the woman he loved was slaughtered during a robbery gone wrong in a supermarket a decade ago. The cops managed to secure one suspect after five years, but he was never charged and was released without trial; however, he was found soon afterward. Goro oscillates his hours between drinking alcohol and breaking bones to cope with his pain and trauma. Goro is apprehended and brought to Chief Anai, the head of the Metropolitan Criminal Police, who advises him to put his skills to good use and go undercover in “Toshokai.” The fifth Yakuza boss had died a couple of years ago, ensuing a never-ending war for control between the Ujiie family, aka the “Expelled” and the Kozu family. Later, a former cop mediates the feud, and Kozu becomes the sixth boss and has created a legitimate business as a front, like a mafia, but is later taken care of by the “Expelled.” Toake succeeded Kozu, followed his way, and supported his overseas expansion. “Toake” has formed a hybrid unit of killers, aka Hell Dogs, hailing from the Kozu and Mikami families and uses it to expand his reach abroad. Chief Anai orders Goro to pick a fight with Muro, one of the prominent members of Hell Dogs, to get his foot in the door, slowly climb the ranks, and destroy the “Expelled” from the inside under the guise of his new identity, “Shogo Tanetaka,” marking the beginning of his time in the Yakuza. But what he didn’t know was that he was going to take down the man, who once too walked in his shoes. Will he complete the mission or choose to side with Toake after learning his secret?
Shogo Joins The Hell Dogs
The plot advances by a year, and Shogo befriends Muro and often teaches him the tactics of war. Muro’s parents were part of the Veda Cult and were arrested and put to death for mass murders. Shogo has ripened into a vile Yakuza and has earned the confidence of everyone, from commoners to the elites of the criminal organization; he uses his massage therapist, Miss N, to convey information to chief Anai. Shogo’s therapist is also an undercover agent, rooted in the bowels of the Yakuza, hoping one day she’ll get her revenge on”Toshokai” for murdering her only son. She, too, like Shogo, is living by the code of the survivor. Tsutomu Toki asks Shogo to meet him at his place in the dead of night. Shogo is hesitant, as the last time Toki contacted him at this hour, he ordered him to murder an undercover narcotics agent working for the Metropolitan Criminal Police. The man was in charge of trafficking drugs for Slick and had gone covert to the point that he had become pure evil. He was making lowlifes and mules swallow condoms full of drugs. Shogo, in order to keep his cover, had to kill the man. In reality, this was all a test carried out by Slick and his men to test Shogo’s commitment to “Hell Dogs.” Since Shogo is Hell Dogs’ biggest asset, Toki decides to move Shogo further up the ranks and orders him to shadow “Toake,” as someone professional has been tantalizing the decision-makers in the organization. But he’s oblivious that his girlfriend, Emiri, has been having an affair with Shogo behind his back and often sneaks out when he’s away to enjoy his company.
The Bodyguard Dressed In Black
Toake doesn’t joke when it comes to his safety and has been making his men brutalize each other just so he can select the one who isn’t frightened of death. He made the fighters wear a vest, so he could shoot them afterward to see who gets up and who doesn’t, and as expected, Shogo and Muro emerge victorious and are assigned as “Toake” personal bodyguards. Toake is, in some ways, similar to Shugo. He’s calm, calculated, and isolated, and he has sworn to cleanse Japan of the “Expelled” so the Yakuza can usher in the new era, which makes him the biggest target. And Shogo and Muro are centurions, with Toake being their “Roman captain.” The government and the police have been cracking down on the Yakuza and trying to bust them for anything. Shogo and Muro are Taoke’s new unarmed shields, dressed in dark suits.
The War Between Families
Shogo earns Toake’s trust after he incapacitates Luca, a woman sent to kill him while he is meeting Tawaraya. Toake had heard rumors that Oliver had been siding with George (the last of the Expelled) and had been training Nagoya’s men to display their defiance of Toake and Toshokai. Toake isn’t happy and needs reliable intel to connect Oliver with Geroge, so he can execute them both when the time comes and coerce the Kobe family into joining him with bribes and promises for a better future. Toake plans to kill George and take Nagoya to avenge the death of his predecessor, Kozu, so he can further expand his reach in Japan. However, the meeting is interrupted when he’s attacked by Luca, who tried to poison him, but thanks to Shogo’s instinct and talent for intuiting others’ motives and emotions, she is incapacitated and taken to a safe house to be tortured for information. Toki and Chuji had bugged the suitcase filled with cash so that they could learn Tawaraya’s true intentions. They believe that the hitwoman was acting on behalf of George, who, along with Tawaraya, has planned to take him down. And now Tawaraya has been rewarded with 300 million yen and will have no choice but to go to George, or else he’ll be branded a traitor and expelled from the family. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as the hitwoman had swallowed a tracker, revealing the safe house’s location, and Toake realized this a bit too late. Shogo and Muro decide to distract and halt the armed cavalry, offering Toake enough time to sneak out of the building unscathed. A battle ensues, and the duo stabs and shoots their way through the first wave. The second wave of assailants arrives, and Uncle Bear, Toake’s secretary, is executed in the ensuing gunfight. Meanwhile, it becomes clear that Tawaraya has indeed been working with Geroge and has planned the entire thing; however, their plan failed, and Toake survived the attack. Tawaraya and George paid dearly for his betrayal and were slaughtered in their sleep.
‘Hell Dogs’ Ending Explained – What Was Toake’s Biggest Secret?
After Bear’s death, Toake is in need of a new secretary and asks Toki to temporarily fill the position, but the latter turns him down turned down. Left with no other option, Toake decides to promote Shogo. Toki is heartbroken over Bear’s death and hits Toake for breaking the rules and going to the torture site. However, he also willingly severed his finger, according to common Yakuza customs, for punishment. Meanwhile, Slick learns from one of his men that Shogo’s real name is Goro Idezuki after hearing the traffic cop refer to Shogo by his former name. Slick is later killed by Muro, who lost control after being labeled as a “low life psychopath,” but he reveals before departing that “Shogo” is working undercover. Chief Anai pays a visit to Shogo and offers him a chance to retire and get out of this mess if he kills Toake and steals the file containing the transcripts of their conversation. Toki’s girlfriend, Emiri, was on an anti-poaching task force and is also working undercover to stop the Toshokai from ivory trafficking. With all his undercover agents in place and ready, Chief Anai decides to take all three pillars of Toshokai, Chuji, Toki, and Toake out at once. Emiri decides to take care of Toki, and Miss N, after a long wait of nine years, kills Chuji for murdering her son. But what about Toake?
In reality, Toake’s original name is So Koreyasu, and he was trained by the FBI before going undercover in Toshokai. The above-mentioned files are his emails and call records with the police. Toake was assigned and tasked with splitting up Toshokai and cutting off their cash flow, eventually crippling the organization. However, he came out to the Kozu trio as the FBI and cops were planning to dismantle Toshokai, earned their respect, and was anointed as the leader of Toshokai. According to him, the men in Toshokai share a bond lacking in the deceitful authorities, i.e., warm-blooded brothers over an icy government. And now he presents Shogo with the same choice, as he has already realized that Anai will surely send someone worse than him this time. He offers for Shogo to join him and conquer the world, but the latter turns him down. Shogo, unlike Toake, is a mad dog who only knows how to bite; the realms of power and possession are alien to him. A gunfight ensues, and Shogo kills Toake and steals his files but is shot multiple times in the process.
Meanwhile, Muro has kidnapped Emiri and plans to use her as bait to lure Shogo to himself, but he is killed. After Muro’s death, Shugo placed the gun against his chin, ready to pull the trigger. The story that began with a mad dog was finally going to end with the death of a hell dog; however, Emiri stops Shugo before he pulls the trigger. The term “Mad Dog” alludes to Shugo’s troubled years, whereas “Helldog” represents what he has now become, a guard for the criminal underworld. But what’s the story of Goro Idezuki? Goro was Shogo’s original name before he went undercover under Anai’s orders. Decades ago, Goro was a cop stationed on 2nd Street in Shinjuku. One day, on the busy streets of Japan, he suspects several men of carrying weapons but is chided by his seniors for making conjectures. Nonetheless, he was right, and the men, after a couple of hours, robbed a busy supermarket, killing several innocents, including the woman he loved. The cops made a couple of arrests, but the suspects were later released. Goro blamed himself for the deaths of those victims and spent over a decade hunting and killing them one by one. He was also the one who sent money to the victims’ families every month. Chief Anai gambled on Shogo, believing him to be the one who could take down Toake and Toshokai, and the latter, in the end, proved him right.
“Hell Dogs” is a 2022 Japanese action film directed by Masato Hadara.