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Yakuza Graveyard
cast: Tetsuya Watari, Meiko Kaji

director: Kinji Fukasaku

96 minutes (15) 1976
widescreen ratio 16:9
Eureka DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Rob Marshall
Kuroiwa is an obsessive cop who cracks his knuckles too much. He romances the Korean born wife of an imprisoned Yakuza boss, and later gatecrashes the crime lords' party. "A cop and a yakuza toasting brotherhood, that's not something you hear of much." He's like 'Dirty Harry' with a death wish...
   One of a series of Japanese gangster movies from the acclaimed director of recent controversial black comedy Battle Royale (2000), this is reminiscent of American crime dramas with lots of tense street corner face-offs, and energetic handheld camerawork which creates a frenetic chase sequence and vividly captures the emotive and physical chaos of the final scenes. Yakuza Graveyard has an overly talky script, distractingly noisy sound effects and twanging guitar solos in a jazzy score. It's about a gang war between Yakuza rivals the Yamashiros and the Nishidas, but the plot centres on antihero loner Kuroiwa, played with occasionally explosive style by Tetsuya Watari. Although it's pretty much a genre film, everything gets a Japanese spin (instead of crap shoots and poker dens, we find there's gambling in pachinko arcades), and even that frolicking snog in the surf, stolen from From Here To Eternity (1953), has peculiar Asian mannerisms.
   DVD extras: a profile of the director, who made such varied pictures as The Green Slime (1968), Pearl Harbour film, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), rarely seen sci-fi yarn, Virus (1980), and the excellent Triple Cross (1992) with Sonny Chiba.