17 September 2003 | Infofreak
Excellent crime drama which will appeal to Beat Takeshi fans.
How ironic that director Kinji Fukasaku began to get a LOT of attention for his final movie (the amazing 'Battle Royale' - watch it today!) after a career spanning some forty years and sixty movies in many genres! How many other directors are unfairly languishing in obscurity because they aren't Anglo-American or talked up by Quentin Tarantino? 'Yakuza Graveyard' is a fascinating and brutal crime thriller that really impressed me. Along with Oshima's 'In The Realm Of The Senses' and Imamura's 'Vengeance Is Mine' it shows that there was some amazing films being made in mid-70s Japan. Films that are only now getting the attention they deserve! Tetsuya Watari (star of the extraordinary 1960s cult movie 'Tokyo Drifter') plays a cop who forms a friendship with a local criminal and eventually falls for the man's sister. Yes, it's the old "what side am I on?" plot we've seen many times, but it's done very well. Watari later had a small role in Beat Takeshi's 'Brother', and fans of Takeshi's yakuza movies would do well to track 'Yakuza Graveyard' down as it no doubt was a strong influence on Takeshi's movies like 'Violent Cop' and 'Hana-bi'. I really enjoyed watching 'Yakuza Graveyard' and highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates intelligent and uncompromised crime dramas, Japanese or otherwise.