Aussie directors prepare Japanese high-octane actioner ‘The Shinjuku Five’

Addison Heath.

After collaborating last year on dark drama/horror pic The Viper’s Hex, co-directors Addison Heath and Jasmine Jakupi are continuing their passion for Japanese-set genre movies.

Due to shoot mid-year, The Shinjuku Five will follow a group of criminal misfits who battle for survival in Tokyo’s underworld. Scripted by Heath, the privately-financed action film will feature an international cast of Japanese, Australian, US and UK actors.

Confirmed so far are Yoji Yamada, Saya Minami, Kenji Shimada, Roger Ward, Cris Cochrane, Tim Jason Wicks, Ricco Ross and Robert Rabiah, with more to be added.

The plot follows Akira Nomura (The Gunslinger) and Yoshi Tsukata (The Chinpira) who are on their way to settle an issue with a rival gang. On another side of town Reika Suzuki (The Angel), daughter of Boss Suzuki and the most dangerous woman in Japan, waits for her star-crossed lover but learns that an all-out Yakuza war has erupted.

Meanwhile Bartley and Cillian Cosgrave (The Irishmen) are exiled from Ireland, hoping to leave a life of crime and tragedy behind, just as Valeriya Oksana (The Domme) buys a gun from a private detective as she prepares to confront a prowler who has been stalking her.

Heath and Jakupi’s Black Forest Films is producing with Lucinda Bruce and Dylan Heath, who is Addison’s cousin. The Australian distributor and international sales agent are yet to be announced.

“After making a dark drama/horror in The Viper’s Hex we wanted to return to the action genre and make something that can be equal parts funny, violent and over-the-top,” Addison Heath tells IF. “Shinjuku is the red-light district so we wanted to make a love letter to the area. We also feel that criminal characters are in our wheelhouse.

“In the spirit of Pulp Fiction, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Takashi Miike’s Dead or Alive trilogy, The Shinjuku Five will be a high octane, blood-thirsty slice of genre cinema.

“Lucinda is a friend of a friend who had previously worked on a few projects that we were familiar with. We thought she would be a huge help to get this project off the ground. She recently spent time in LA to secure financing.”

Dylan Heath produced his cousin’s previous films including The Perfect Nonsense, Mondo Yakuza and Under a Kaleidoscope and due to the size/scale of this project came aboard as a co-producer.

Some of the cast featured in The Viper’s Hex, which had its world premiere at Monster Fest 2017. Saya Mimami played Kiyo, a lonely hostess who spends her days propositioning men on the streets of Tokyo and being beaten up by her violent pimp Tetsuya (Yoji Yamada).

Her luck seems to change when she meets a charming foreigner named Anchin (Kenji Shimada) and romance blossoms, but her world falls apart when she becomes pregnant. Anchin flees Tokyo so with nowhere left to go, she turns to The Viper, a scorned spirit that has been with her since birth.

That film is currently doing its international film festival run and has been accepted into Europe’s largest Japanese film festival, Japan-Filmfest Hamburg (JFFH), which runs from May 31- June 4.