peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2019 08 29 TheYakuza

The Yakuza

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A Robert Mitchum jag from recent things. Before Kill Bill rendered Japsploitation obsolete there was this effort, vintage even in 1972. After some sketchy setup in L.A. the main players move to Tokyo for what I took to be a series of cultural education scenes. The pace is soporific. Yank tanks on the streets of Japan? Running guns to the Yakuza? Transparent twists? Cultural appropriation? They get down to business in the last third and finally let us go do something else.

The Yakuza side of things is all twisty with rules, honour, customs, swords, violence personalized, family, etc. The American side is classic extremist vengeance: let's not concern ourselves with those great Western tropes (law, justice, monogamy, etc. — especially the etc.) for we have the guns. Fortunately the local fixer reassures us that the local cops care less than we do. Director Sydney Pollack has form for this sort of exotic vacuity.

Roger Ebert at the time. For some reason Wikipedia has tons of details.