Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Yakuza Papers, Vol. 4: Police Tactics (1974)

Name tags. That's what this film is missing -- name tags. If every character walked around wearing one of those red-and-white 'HI My name is' stickers that people tend to wear at conventions and scholastic events and other such large gatherings, maybe then it would be humanly possible to follow the events of the insane, overextended narrative. Alas, Kinji Fukasaku decided to go for realism rather than convenience, so what we have here is one hundred minutes of faceless guys in business suits yelling, fighting and occasionally killing. What's worse, Fukasaku makes the same mistake he made with Proxy War by de-emphasizing the role of lead identification figure (and only interesting recurring character) Shozo Hirono -- after he gets shipped to the hoosegow halfway through, it's like someone pulled the pin out of the film's neck and the only thing a viewer can do is watch it crumple into a frenzied heap. Top that off with disinterested direction -- Fukasaku's work here lacks the verve of the first two films in the series, and the feeling I got was mainly one of et's-get-this-over-with-already professionalism -- and what we have here is a damn good argument for not ever bothering with the fifth and final volume.

Grade: C


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