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Member's Reviews

The Yakuza, a review by addicted2comics

The Yakuza (1974)
4 out of 5

Former private eye Harry Kilmer knows a lot about  Japan - and gangsters whu keep an iron grip on it's gambling, prostitution and protection rackets He knows there's a right way to approach the brutal underworld. And he knows there's one thing powerful mobsters respect: greater power. Robert Mitchum is Kilmer in this haunting  East-meets-West-head-on thriller powered by a team of heavy Hollywood hitters: writers Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) and Robert Towne (Chinatown) and director Sidney Pollack (The Interpreter). Co-starring Japan's Takakura Ken and veteran character actor Brian Keith. The Yakuza is a modern film noir in which honor and loyalty become issues of life and death. Violence erupts with the speed of a Tokyo-bound bullet train. And the last thing to die is tradition.

Old man action movies! You’ve got to love them. It doesn’t always work when an aging movie star goes for one last thriller or action flick; just look at Clint Eastwood in The Dead Pool, a step too far for Harry Callaghan. With the right script though, it’s gold. Robert Mitchum is way past his prime as Harry in The Yakuza, but he holds it well and Sydney Pollack –not known for action chops- gives him some superb set-pieces with the least amount of effort, while Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) and Robert Towne (Chinatown) deliver a clever screenplay that uses Mitchum’s natural charisma to its best. Just the delivery on one simple line as he sees his long lost love, Eiko (Keiko Kishi), again sums up his whole character: “Hello, darlin’”. Although more straightforward, The Yakuza benefits from the psychological, character-in-purgatory screenplays Schrader and Towne are good at. And Pollack brings it to life, with Mitchum providing old-school charisma you can barely find these days.

Harry has travelled to Japan where he was stationed in the military 20+ years before, at the behest of his friend, George (Brian Keith), who has got himself mixed up with Yakuza. Harry knows a Yakuza (Ken Takakura) who is in debt –or obligation, “giri”- to him. Harry is reluctant when he discovers Ken is no longer Yakuza, and especially when there is a complicated history. Ken is Eiko’s brother and demanded she stay away from Harry all those years before.

The Yakuza plot is a simple one, but adds a great deal of substance by tying it in with honour and obligation, that makes for a brilliant story with a haunting quality, despite its straightforward no-nonsense style. Pollack, as you’d expect, delivers a very solid drama, but the sporadic action is superb, ranging from gunfights to a lengthy sword duel. Bloody and brutal, in that 70s way, which isn’t quite Peckinpah, but it’s close enough to be riveting stuff and the well developed characters make you care for what happens. Look close and you’ll realise that Mitchum at least is being edited kindly, but what editing! There’s one sequence where he is armed with a rifle as he backs up sword wielding Ken, taking on about two dozen Yakuza. That followed where he cleared out a room full of thugs, bellowing his targets name and finally taking him out with Pollack framing him in a 1-2-3 step edit. One word: awesome! I’d take this lean focused brutality any day over anything Michael Bay has done and Pollack isn’t even known for action (although many of his thrillers have decent set-pieces). He just understands character and knows how to position them, even if it’s a Western style gunfight.

This sort of film is dying out with the actors who made them. Mitchum was a hellraiser and combined with being a hell of an actor, he brought a special quality to such movies.

(From Jon's Alphabet Marathon 2010 on July 12th, 2010)

Member's Reviews

The Man With The Golden Gun, a review by Rich

The Man With The Golden Gun

James Bond (Roger Moore) may have met his match in Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), a world-renowned assassin whose weapon of choice is a distinctive gold pistol.  When Scaramanga seizes the priceless Solex Agitator energy converter, Agent 007 must recover the device and confront the trained killer in a heart-stopping duel to the death!

Really enjoyed watching this one again, it had been some time since my last viewing.
For me this is possibly Moores 2nd best film, I thought Lee as Scaramanga, with sidekick Nick-Nack, were excellent villains, and who could not enjoy seeing Britt Ekland wandering round in a bikini or babydoll nightie? (despite her bad acting skills)
The story is not as per Flemings last book, but I think works well and is still relevant today. Moore is particularly suave and witty, which suited the films at this time. Some of the stunts were awesome, the spiralling jump over the collapsed bridge only spoilt by a bloody penny-whistle noise (listen to the commentary track to see how much they regretted that). The gadgets are balanced well in quantity and not too ridiculous, the jokes are delivered well, the Far-Eastern locations ideal, and the acting solid in most areas.
On the negatives, the soundtrack was poor, a couple of the fight scenes were limp, and the pointless return of Clifton James as the racist 'Southern' sheriff.
A 007 classic and definately one of Moore's better films. Full of humour and an engaging storyline, I rate it higher than others.  ;D

(From Riches Random Reviews on March 31st, 2009)

Member's TV Reviews

HawthoRNe: Season 1 Ep. 4: All the Wrong Places, a review by addicted2dvd

HawthoRNe: Season 1 Ep. 4

As Christina uncovers a rare disorder that could place an accident victim and her young son in grave danger, Bobbie is pressed to counsel a young man facing the loss of an arm.

Notable Guest Stars:
DB Woodside (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24) as David

My Thoughts:
Another episode I enjoyed... though not quite as much as the previous ones. I actually enjoyed the side story about the amputee then I did the main storyline.

My Rating:

(From HawthoRNe Episode Reviews on June 23rd, 2013)