After narrowly surviving a traumatic brain injury, macho pro boxer Eiji Adachi (Hidekazu Akai) puts his life on the line for another chance at boxing glory—vying for a comeback despite the seriousness of his condition. A hyper-masculine brute with a devil-may-care attitude, the hot-tempered Adachi starts again from the ground up, launching his own Osaka training gym with the hopes of returning to the ring. At times comically absurd, Sakamoto’s film brings a satirical yet bleak approach to the self-destructive nature of the boxer, further bolstered by the very fact that the film is based on the life and career of lead actor Akai himself. A bittersweet tale of resilience and hardship, Knockout proved to be a word-of-mouth hit, garnering widespread popularity upon release, and has since cemented itself as one of the landmark debuts of the ‘80s.
Winner, Best Film at 1990 Blue Ribbon Awards
Winner, Best Supporting Actor (Yoshio Harada), Best Supporting Actress (Haruko Sagara), Best New Actor (Hidekazu Akai) at 1990 Kinema Junpo Awards
“This brilliant film is one of the best Japanese pictures of the year.” —Donald Ritchie