The title is the unspoken instruction given to a sniper who sets up an ambush for the title vehicle at the start of the film. He sets a trap by sending an empty truck down a hill to collide with the van containing three prisoners. Suzuki uses the landscape to set the pace and create suspense for this scene, establishing a Burma-Shave like series of warning signs at the start and returning to them to establish where the different vehicles are as the ambush approaches. In any event, two of the prisoners are shot while another escapes in the confusion.
"Aki" (upper right)
Tamon's investigation leads him to a "talent agency" that fronts for a prostitution ring, headed by an ailing boss, around whom swirls a struggle for future control pitting the boss's stepdaughter Yuko (Misako Watanabe) against a rival faction. The search for "Aki" becomes a hunt for "Akiba," a mysterious mastermind scheming to take over the agency. Is it a pseudonym for one of Yuko's rivals -- or for Yuko herself? She's shown to be a dangerously proficient marksman with bow or gun, and the most likely suspect in the death-by-arrow of a prostitute Tamon hoped to interview. Despite the obvious danger around her, Tamon finds himself falling for her while still struggling to figure out whether she's trying to help him or kill him.
Who done it? Could it be ... the dame with the bow?
Take Aim is definitely not a youth movie in the way the Ishihara vehicles are -- not with a star in his late forties. But there's still a generational conflict in play as we come to suspect that Yuko is scheming to supplant her father. Tamon also has to deal with the younger generation in the form of a quasi girl-gang, one of whose members may have important information for him, and all of whom are in danger of being recruited into the "talent agency." But the focus here isn't on someone waiting for his life to restart -- Tamon is too proactive and maybe too mature for that. He's older than the typical American noir protagonist, but comes closer to their spirit than do the younger heroes of Nikkatsu's "borderless" films.
While Take Aim is the most nearly noir of the Nikkatsus so far, it's also the weakest of the three I've seen. It gets too bogged down in a convoluted plot while keeping us guessing about Akiba's identity, and it isn't as character-driven as the two Ishihara vehicles. But it is a modestly effective thriller, and like the two previous films, the story could easily be translated into the American idiom. Crime-film fans of global cinema will probably like this one perfectly fine, and now that's a majority of Nikkatsu Noir I can recommend, with two films to go.
For that matter, how will this guy escape?