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The Yakuza [Import]
|List Price:||CDN$ 27.92|
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When his daughter is kidnapped by the Japanese mafia, Los Angeles shipping magnate George Tanner calls upon his old Army buddy Harry Kilmer to get her back.
Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure
Release Date: 23-JAN-2007
Media Type: DVD
Complex to the point of being pleasingly convoluted, this Sydney Pollack film (from a terrific script by Robert Towne and Leonard and Paul Schrader) is an intriguing blend of Western and Asian sensibilities. Mitchum, in one of his best roles of the 1970s, is drawn to the Orient by an army buddy (Brian Keith), whose daughter has been kidnapped. But when he gets to Japan, Mitchum finds that her kidnappers are the shadowy Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia--an organization that is as vicious as it is tradition-bound. He must call on friends he made after World War II for favors and finds himself unintentionally trampling on issues of honor, even as he battles for his life and that of the girl he is seeking. Surprisingly heartfelt and deliciously exciting, the film features a sorrowful performance by Mitchum and a stoically touching one by Ken Takakura. And what great samurai swordplay! --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Look up 'film noir' in the dictionary and there should be a picture of Robert Mitchum in The Yakuza, alongside Bogie in The Maltese Falcon. It's that good of a film.
The theme is about honor, or "giri." The last bastion of manhood in an relativistic world ambivalent towards heroism, unsure about any values, moral or otherwise, and gone to hell.
Against this background, you may be a tad on the shady side of the law, but do you keep faith with your friends?
For that matter, would you risk taking a bullet for someone you personally loathe but whom you "owe" because he's saved the life of your wife and child?
The plot begins when Mitchum is approached by an old army buddy that he hasn't heard from in decades, save for the annual obligatory Christmas card. His daughter's been kidnapped by Japanese mobsters and he needs his help.
As to Mitchum, his character is established in one line.
"You've been successful?"
Mitchum: "That depends on how you figure those things."
True enough. He has no family, no friends, no one even remotely close. The film noir loner, now in his sixties.
He goes back to Japan, links up with the only woman he ever loved, and the one enemy who can help him gain entry into the dark world of the Yakuza; an ultra-traditionalist latter-day Samurai ( Tanaka Ken ) who "owes" Mitchum.
One small problem, he's no longer a Yakuza. He's been out of the mob for years. When Mitchum finds out this unpleasant bit of inforation and blurts out "I can't ask you to do that!" Tanaka Ken quietly replies: "You already have."
The aged warriors go to it again. A great story of love and betrayal. Acted in a style of understated whispers between flashing katanas that bring the house down.
My problem with the video is this: there are omissions from this version that were in the first version I saw. Some footage has been edited out, and although its omission does not adversely affect the story line, it was an effective contribution. Also, there are sections where subtitles are omitted. (My most recent viewing was in the company of a friend who speaks Japanese and English, and they provided their own comments regarding the accuracy, not necessarily of the English rendering, but more on what the Japanese "should" have been in the context.) Mind you, the movie is in English, with some segments of Japanese dialog. But it was disappointing that some of the most eloquent dialog wasn't even translated.
Maybe someone, somewhere, will grant my wish and produce an unexpurgated version on DVD ...
Most recent customer reviews
An excellent movie. Too bad its so hard to get. It deals with a Westerners view of the Japanese Martial Arts and Organized Crime. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dean S. Marquis
I am continually surprised no one I talk to about this movie has heard of it. This is really a fantastic gangster/crime movie in every way. Mitchum and Takakura Ken are perfect. Read morePublished on Sept. 23 2000 by Amazon Customer
great movie - i own it on laser disc and would like to get it on dvd and am ordering on video. great insight into the traditions of the east versus the west and how the right... Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2000
This movie is one of the best action films to be made in the seventies and late sixties. It stays away from the anti-establishment preachiness so popular during that time and goes... Read morePublished on April 10 2000 by Jeff Cordell
A beautiful film, by any standard. Marshall Fine says it best when he calls it "surprisingly heartfelt and deliciously exciting" in the review above. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 1999 by Anders Runestad
A moving depiction of classical samurai values conflicting with the realities of the modern world. Features fine kenjutsu and iai performances that, though choreographed, are... Read morePublished on Oct. 10 1999
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