The Yakuza Reviews

  • Oct 06, 2019

    A raw action film with great performance by Robert Mitchum and Japanese actors and beautiful location of the city of Tokyo.

    A raw action film with great performance by Robert Mitchum and Japanese actors and beautiful location of the city of Tokyo.

  • Aug 09, 2019

    What not to describe as brilliance ?

    What not to describe as brilliance ?

  • May 06, 2019

    Paul Schrader's first produced screenplay (with Robert Towne) probably should have been directed by someone other than Sydney Pollack (coming off The Way We Were, starring Streisand and Redford). The noir edge of the film gets softened a bit by the pacing and music that signal something different, more romantic. Of course, the presence of Robert Mitchum, returning to Japan having earlier been a postwar military policeman there (and later detective back in the States), looking weary in his late fifties, adds some requisite moodiness, just right for the downbeat 1970s. Mitchum has been persuaded by old friend George Tanner (Brian Keith) to intervene in a dispute that he has with a local Yakuza boss (who has kidnapped Tanner's daughter). To assist him, Mitchum reaches out to his former girlfriend's brother, Ken Tanaka (Ken Takakura, the veteran Japanese star) who was previously a Yakuza, for assistance. He also hopes to rekindle his romance with Eiko Tanaka (Keiko Kishi) to no avail. The plot churns as the various dynamics work themselves out. I'd be lying if I didn't say it felt like a Seventies TV show at times â" but the Japanese locations and culture do add some uniqueness. And slowly, slowly, the plot strands come together with some bursts of startling violence and your cynical suspicions are more or less vindicated. Except that Takakura and Mitchum demonstrate that they live by a code of honour and that may be enough to retain some faith in the world. If only the direction was tighter...

    Paul Schrader's first produced screenplay (with Robert Towne) probably should have been directed by someone other than Sydney Pollack (coming off The Way We Were, starring Streisand and Redford). The noir edge of the film gets softened a bit by the pacing and music that signal something different, more romantic. Of course, the presence of Robert Mitchum, returning to Japan having earlier been a postwar military policeman there (and later detective back in the States), looking weary in his late fifties, adds some requisite moodiness, just right for the downbeat 1970s. Mitchum has been persuaded by old friend George Tanner (Brian Keith) to intervene in a dispute that he has with a local Yakuza boss (who has kidnapped Tanner's daughter). To assist him, Mitchum reaches out to his former girlfriend's brother, Ken Tanaka (Ken Takakura, the veteran Japanese star) who was previously a Yakuza, for assistance. He also hopes to rekindle his romance with Eiko Tanaka (Keiko Kishi) to no avail. The plot churns as the various dynamics work themselves out. I'd be lying if I didn't say it felt like a Seventies TV show at times â" but the Japanese locations and culture do add some uniqueness. And slowly, slowly, the plot strands come together with some bursts of startling violence and your cynical suspicions are more or less vindicated. Except that Takakura and Mitchum demonstrate that they live by a code of honour and that may be enough to retain some faith in the world. If only the direction was tighter...

  • Mar 02, 2018

    very groovy movie, i loved it

    very groovy movie, i loved it

  • Jun 23, 2017

    I have not seen that many Sydney Pollack flicks, probably just "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?". That was fantastic so I was eager for this one. Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer is back in Japan to settle some business. He has lived there before, so he got some friends to help him out. He don't want to use them, but he kind of has to. This is an alright film, but it's got to many flatter moments. Sure, they may be needed, but the action is not that gripping, or exciting when it does happen. Great performances and a neat atmoshere. I dig Robert Mitchum and it's cool to see Richard Jordan too, as they teamed up again since the brillian "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" the year before. It seems like Jordan kept his jacket, by the way. OK film, maybe I killed the vibe since I got some work SMS-es during it, but I would not have cared about them if the film was gripping enough. A solid graph of build up and finishing helps, and some pretty cool scenes does too. Still, a slight disappointment. 6 out of 10 pinky fingers.

    I have not seen that many Sydney Pollack flicks, probably just "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?". That was fantastic so I was eager for this one. Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer is back in Japan to settle some business. He has lived there before, so he got some friends to help him out. He don't want to use them, but he kind of has to. This is an alright film, but it's got to many flatter moments. Sure, they may be needed, but the action is not that gripping, or exciting when it does happen. Great performances and a neat atmoshere. I dig Robert Mitchum and it's cool to see Richard Jordan too, as they teamed up again since the brillian "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" the year before. It seems like Jordan kept his jacket, by the way. OK film, maybe I killed the vibe since I got some work SMS-es during it, but I would not have cared about them if the film was gripping enough. A solid graph of build up and finishing helps, and some pretty cool scenes does too. Still, a slight disappointment. 6 out of 10 pinky fingers.

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    John B Super Reviewer
    Sep 02, 2015

    An absolutely impossible story line to follow is the main feature of the Yakuza. A good script cannot be saved by terrific actors nor a terrific director.

    An absolutely impossible story line to follow is the main feature of the Yakuza. A good script cannot be saved by terrific actors nor a terrific director.

  • Aug 17, 2015

    A unique action film film in several ways. First, it's directed by Sydney Pollack who made some good thrillers ("Three Days of the Condor," "The Firm" and "The Interpreter"), but never really made what I'd consider an action film. This is also seem more overtly stylized than any of other Pollock's films. This film also seems to be one of the few that I can think of outside of Samuel Fuller's "Crimson Kimono" that tried to explain Japanese culture to American audiences in a post-WWII Japan setting. Written by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne from a story by Schrader's brother, the film follows the always excellent Robert Mitchum traveling back to Japan for the firs time since the war to help his old friend Brian Keith deal with some problems he's having with the Yakuza. The film spends a lot of time going over Japanese cultural aspects and information about the Yakuza that are old hat to audiences now and have been covered many times (along with Karaoke bars and Pachinko). This one is probably my favorite of Mitchum's later career films and essential viewing for Mitchum fans. Very cool film.

    A unique action film film in several ways. First, it's directed by Sydney Pollack who made some good thrillers ("Three Days of the Condor," "The Firm" and "The Interpreter"), but never really made what I'd consider an action film. This is also seem more overtly stylized than any of other Pollock's films. This film also seems to be one of the few that I can think of outside of Samuel Fuller's "Crimson Kimono" that tried to explain Japanese culture to American audiences in a post-WWII Japan setting. Written by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne from a story by Schrader's brother, the film follows the always excellent Robert Mitchum traveling back to Japan for the firs time since the war to help his old friend Brian Keith deal with some problems he's having with the Yakuza. The film spends a lot of time going over Japanese cultural aspects and information about the Yakuza that are old hat to audiences now and have been covered many times (along with Karaoke bars and Pachinko). This one is probably my favorite of Mitchum's later career films and essential viewing for Mitchum fans. Very cool film.

  • Aug 13, 2015

    Extra star because I love Japanese culture.

    Extra star because I love Japanese culture.

  • Aug 12, 2015

    very good drama/suspenser from master director Sydney Pollack

    very good drama/suspenser from master director Sydney Pollack

  • Apr 06, 2015

    Sidney Pollack nos ofrece en este film una vertiente algo diferente del cine negro americano en el que en vez de inteligentes y desalmados gangsters, contamos con la presencia de honorables yakuzas. La mezcla de temáticas del género negro con las tradiciones japonesas podrían parecer opuestas, y sin embargo tenemos una historia que sabe aprovechar los elementos comunes de temáticas tan dispares en la construcción de los diferentes misterios de la trama. Incluso la clásica "femme fatale" no es tal, si se observa desde la particular óptica de la cultura japonesa. Las interpretaciones de Robert Mitchum y Ken Takakura son excelentes y tan sutiles que es un placer ver como dos personas que sienten recelo el uno del otro llegan a quererse como hermanos. A nivel realizativo es interesante ver el uso de lentes angulares que deforman las líneas rectas de los escenarios, en especial cuando el choque entre culturas está presente y la tensión se masca en el ambiente. Una forma inteligente de aportar una sensación de desasosiego. Black Rain debe mucho a esta cinta.

    Sidney Pollack nos ofrece en este film una vertiente algo diferente del cine negro americano en el que en vez de inteligentes y desalmados gangsters, contamos con la presencia de honorables yakuzas. La mezcla de temáticas del género negro con las tradiciones japonesas podrían parecer opuestas, y sin embargo tenemos una historia que sabe aprovechar los elementos comunes de temáticas tan dispares en la construcción de los diferentes misterios de la trama. Incluso la clásica "femme fatale" no es tal, si se observa desde la particular óptica de la cultura japonesa. Las interpretaciones de Robert Mitchum y Ken Takakura son excelentes y tan sutiles que es un placer ver como dos personas que sienten recelo el uno del otro llegan a quererse como hermanos. A nivel realizativo es interesante ver el uso de lentes angulares que deforman las líneas rectas de los escenarios, en especial cuando el choque entre culturas está presente y la tensión se masca en el ambiente. Una forma inteligente de aportar una sensación de desasosiego. Black Rain debe mucho a esta cinta.