Archive for Movies

Yakuzafest Movie Review – The Yakuza

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2008 by mobflix

Directed by Sidney Pollack and starring Robert Mitchum, this movie is considered one of the first Yakuza movies made for an American audience.  Ken Takakura stars as the Japanese Hero who helps Robert Mitchum rescue a friend’s daughter kidnapped by the Yakuza after an arms deal gone bad.

Robert Mitchum returns to Japan after being there during the US occupation after WWII, while in Japan to help his friend rescue his daughter, Mitchum renews his relationship with the the Japanese lady he left behind after he was sent back to the States.  Mitchum and Takaura have a complicated relationship with tension, honor.

Severed fingers play a very important role in this film.

The plot has some great action scenes and several plot twists with fantastic acting and direction.

We give The Yakuza 4.5 stars out of 5

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Yakuza Month: Yakuzafest Haikus

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on October 14, 2008 by mobflix

Yakuzapalooza continues. What better way to celebrate Japanese Organized Crime than Haikus.

Yakuza Haiku-Tattooed crime Kingpins / Underground samurai thieves / Prowl Japan’s backstreets

Yakuza Haiku – Underground business / Illustrated mob bosses / The Yakuza reign

Yakuza Haiku – Orders are given / Eradicate outsiders / The Yakuza speak

Yakuza Haiku – Samurai Gangsters / A secret society / The Yakuza code

Samurai Crime Lords / Disciplined gangs rule the streets / Black market kingpins

Brother Haiku: Japanese Gangster / Takes on the Italian Mob / Lessons to be learned

Yakuza Month (Yakuzapalooza, Yakuzafest)

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on October 9, 2008 by mobflix

The Yakuza is the collective name of Japanese Organized Crime organizations and members. Here are some characteristics of the Yakuza:

  • The word “Yakuza” means “Violence Group’.
    Members of Yakuza organizations can be identified by their full body tattoos.
  • There are over 80,000 Yakuza in Japan
  • The White Book as required by Japanese Law requires that all Yakuza members be identified

The Yakuza evolved from the 1600’s during the Edo periods in Japan. Out of work warriors began to sell their services as protection to merchants and gambling establishments. These warriors groups eventually became organized into various Yakuza organizations.

The Japanese Government and Yakuza organizations have a strange relationship that I haven’t quite figured out yet. As mentioned above, Yakuza are required by law to submit a list of their members to law enforcement. During the post WW II period, Yakuza became an invaluable source for moving commerce (legal and illegal) through Japan. Yakuza also provide a valuable service in helping business entities negotiate deals.

Yakuza activities include black market distribution of counterfeit items as well as drugs, weapons, gambling, protection, prostitution and other illegal enterprises. Yakuza also have close relationships with other Asian gangs in which they coordinate illegal commerce across the region.

Yakuza Members show thier colors

The movie Yojimbo (released 1961) is one of the most famous films of Yakuza. It is set in the 1800’s where a lone Yakuza sells his skills to rival gangs in a small Japanese town. Written and Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Yojimbo brought the subject of Yakuza to the west. The movie The Last Man Standing (1996) starring Bruce Willis is an American remake of Yojimbo. Yakuza movies typically have a Japanese or partial Japanese cast. Most Yakuza films involve sword play.

Combine the mysteries of Japanese culture along with discipline, sword play, and organized crime, and you have peaked my curiosity in regards to movies of the genre.

At Mobflix.com, we are proud to call October the month of Yakuza.

Yakuza Month – Movie Review: Black Rain

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by mobflix

Mobflix rating 4 out of 5 stars

Our first movie for Yakuza month is Black Rain starring Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia and Kate Capshaw.  Douglas and Garcia are New York detectives who find themselves in the midst of a Yakuza war that makes its way to New York City.  The detectives capture the young leader of a rogue Yakuza motorcycle gang and escort him back to Japan.

While in Japan, the rogue Yakuza leader named Sato (played by Yusako Matsuda) escapes and takes out his own revenge against the detectives and Yakuza rivals.  There is a fantastic chase scene where Sato performs modern day jousting with a samurai sword while on a motorcycle.

The Japanese dectective (played by Ken Takakura) assigned to capture Sato, butts heads with Douglas and Garcia and limits their powers while they are in his host country.

We give Black Rain 4 out of 5 stars

Movie of the Week In Honor of Paul Newman – We bring you The Sting

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2008 by mobflix

What if they made “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid” for Mobsters starring the same two actors in the lead roles?  You’d get a movie about two Con-Artists trying the ultimate scheme to defraud an Irish Mob-Boss in Chicago who puts a hit on a local con man.  The Con (Robert Redford) seeks out a seasoned Con Artist (Paul Newman) to help seek revenge on the Mob Boss by coming up with elaborate scheme to fleece the Mobster of some major coin.

The trick of course is to do it without getting caught and to getaway clean.

When I was a kid, this movie was huge and helped along by a vintage soundtrack which included “The Entertainer,” originally composed by Scott Joplin and scored by Marvin Hamlisch.  This theme song to “The Sting” became a Top 40 hit.  Pretty amazing for a piano jazz ragtime tune.

We give the The Sting 5 stars out of 5

The Coppola Restoration DVD Collection Released

Posted in Movies with tags , , , on September 23, 2008 by mobflix

The Coppola Restoration DVD has been is released.  In honor of this occasion, below are a dozen haiku’s dedicated to the greatest movie ever made:

– Horse head in his bed / Johnny Fontane gets movie / Director relents

– Luca Brasi sleeps / An offer he can’t refuse / It was Barzini

– The hit on Paulie / Leave gun, take cannoli / Loyal Clemenza

– Daughter’s wedding day / No request can be refused / Will you be my friend?

– Michael thwarts whacking / No one at the hospital / Roughed up war hero

– Michael’s broken jaw / Cop and Turk whacked at dinner / Michael on the lam

– Debts settled today / Tessio betrays Michael / It was Barzini

– All debts are settled / Day of nephew’s baptism / Enemies silenced

– Michael’s heart turns cold / A ruthless Don he becomes / The new Godfather

– Michael finds true love / A marriage in Italy / Widower Michael

– Cleans out the bad blood / We go to the mattresses / Clemenza cooks sauce

– Whacked in a parked car / Carlo must pay for Sonny / Connie is widowed

A Casino Story = Casino + A Christmas Story

Posted in Movies with tags , on September 11, 2008 by mobflix

This is the movie I’ve been waiting for

Ralphie runs a local mob crew in Hillman Indiana.  Together with his brother Randy, and friends Flick and Schwartz, they run loansharking,  bookmaking, prostitution, and other rackets under the cover of leg lamp and Ovaltine distribution businesses.

Ralphie wants a silencer for Christmas and everyone keeps telling him he’ll shoot his eye out without hearing it.

The rival crew in Hillman is run by Scott Farkus and his little toadie Grover.  Ralphie and his crew extract information and make deadbeats pay by clothing them in so much winter clothes that they can’t put their arms down.  For serious deadbeats, they have their tongues stuck to frozen flagpoles.

In the end the bosses had enough of Ralphie and made and example of Ralphie and Randy.  Scott Farkus and Grover beat the two brothers with snow shovels and bury them alive in the frozen snow to be discovered by a Christmas tree farmer.