Cinema: Honor Bound

THE YAKUZA

Directed by SYDNEY POLLACK Screenplay by PAUL SCHRADER and ROBERT TOWNE

A cultural footnote: the Yakuza in Japan is very much like the Mafia Stateside: a clandestine and very powerful criminal organization with heavy political connections. The Yakuza has its own code of conduct but, typically, the code has a kind of fearful stringency that makes the Mafia look by comparison like a gang of clubhouse rowdies.

This movie, a fitful action adventure starring an excellent Robert Mitchum, must first explain all about the Yakuza to uninitiated Westerners, so that the whole opening...

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