Review – The Yakuza

The Yakuza

Sydney Pollack

1974, USA

A retired detective is asked by an old friend to help find his daughter who has been kidnapped by a yakuza clan in Tokyo. The detective (Robert Mitchum) has to travel back to the island and face his past love, her brother and an ever expanding series of events.

The Yakuza compounded the standard convention of action/thrillers of the time by having real Japanese supporting characters, a complex and multi layerd plot and a true interest in the culture it is presenting. It does suffer from some clichés that modern films still suffer from, such as hiring actors to portray native Asian characters who speak flawless American-accented English. Would it be that much of a stretch to hire real Japanese actresses for the minor supporting roles as well? However, on the whole the film is interesting, involved and very entertaining. Mitchum hasn’t lost the charisma he had in the fifties and Sydney Pollack capped of a fantastic year what with The Yakuza and Three Days of the Condor. A classic.

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