The Curator of Schlock #353 by Jeff Shuster

Ley Lines

Part 3 of the Black Society trilogy. 

Edwige and I spent the night in Butte, Montana. The hotel said no kangaroos so Edwige had to sleep in the truck. There was a Perkins in town so I got some blueberry pancakes and an orange Hi-C. I grabbed a piece of banana cream pie to go and fed it to Edwige.

The hotel was right next to a hog rendering plant. I had to fight the urge to vomit at three in the morning. I’m sorry. I don’t have an exciting adventure story to tell this week. I’ll be at the Canadian border soon enough.

So this is Miike in May Month for the Museum of Schlock. Speaking of which, I need to get back there. It’s been over a year since I hightailed it out of Orlando. Hopefully, the rats haven’t taken it over. Anyway, this week’s Arrow Home Video movie is 1999’s Ley Lines from director Takashi Miike. This is the third movie in Miike’s Black Society trilogy. This is a series of movies about Chinese immigrants living in Japan that get involved in criminal organizations.

The movie centers around three malcontents named Ryuichi, Shunrei, and Chang that get duped by a Chinese prostitute named Anita. Basically, she steals their wallets and locks them in an empty room in an abandoned high rise. Desperate to earn money, they start selling toluene on the streets for one of the Triad outfits in Shinjuki. Just one question: what the heck is toluene? Apparently, it’s an aromatic hydrocarbon that is sometimes used as an inhalant for recreational drug use. Be warned though, it can cause great neurological harm. So in other words, it fried your brains!

The three malcontents make friends with Anita the prostitute after she has a violent fight with her pimp after undergoing a nasty sexual encounter with a perverted salary man. I guess they look past the whole getting robbed business. Ryuichi wants to get a fake passport so he can get out of Japan and move to fun Brazil. The three malcontents and Anita buy their fake passports and an illegal firearm which they use to shoot up a Triad poker game and steal all of the money. They then get on a boat, set up a bicycle renting business in Rio de Janeiro, and retire rich, happy men. I’m kidding of course.

You see, you don’t shoot up and rob a mob poker game and expect to live to see your next birthday. Remember The Sopranos? The first guy to get whacked is Chang who languishes on for hours before finally keeling over. Honestly, I was wanting him to die already. Ryuichi and Anita wait at a train station while Shunrei gives Chang’s share of the money to his mother. On the way back to the train station, Shunrei gets run over by a van being driven by one of the Triad members. Ryuichi and Anita go to look for him. They see his splattered body right before the van starts to chase them down. Somehow, Ryuichi evades execution by causing the driver to crash into a dilapidated house and impale himself.

Anita and Ryuichi get on the train to get to a seaport and escape to Brazil, but you know it won’t be that easy. The final confrontation is well worth the wait. Neither the malcontents nor the mob get what they want. which is as it should be.

Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444, and episode 450) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.