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With: Tetsuya Watari, Meiko Kaji, Seizo Fukumoto, Takuzo Kawatani, Hideo Murota, Nagisa Oshima, Tatsuo Umemiya
Written by: Kazuo Kasahara
Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/18/2013

Yakuza Graveyard (1976)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Threat Detective

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I have absolutely no idea what happened in this movie, but I liked it. This is the kind of movie Spike Jonze was emulating when he made the 1994 Beastie Boys video "Sabotage." Kinji Fukasaku directs with an astonishing technique, a striking, full-color cinemascope frame, revved up to an impossible pace. Whenever our antihero, detective Kuroiwa (Tetsuya Watari) speaks to anyone, he winds up in a fist-fight; Fukasaku's camera tilts and dives and chases after the action, and at no point becomes lost in the jumble. It's unbelievably skilled, clear, exciting work. Kuroiwa somehow gets stuck in the middle of a war between two Yakuza gangs, and keeps a girlfriend -- the rescued wife (Meiko Kaji) of a former yakuza member -- on the side. Everyone wears funky 1970s shirts and giant-sized sunglasses, and the whole thing oozes cool. Fukasaku (1930-2003) was a prolific director, best known in this country for the dubbed version of The Green Slime (1968) and for his final masterpiece, Battle Royale (2000).

DVD Details: Kino Video released Yakuza Graveyard in conjunction with Cops vs. Thugs(1975). The DVD comes with trailers for both features and publicitystills.

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