Another Battle

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The Japanese title suggests a remake of the yakuza classic Battles Without Honour and Humanity, but it's actually an original and highly complex account of the battle for succession in a powerful Osaka yakuza 'family'. So complex, in fact, that the string of set-piece assassinations, provocations, negotiations and fights approaches pure abstraction; hard to say who does what to whom and why. But Sakamoto smartly anchors the whole thing in a generic male friendship between Kadoya (Toyokawa) and the Korean-Japanese Chan-Ryon (musician Hotei). Years ago Chan-Ryon killed a yakuza to save Kadoya's life. Now Kadoya decides it's time to return the favour, seeing his old friend under heavy pressure to sell his Korean business empire to the 'family'. Charismatically acted, stylishly directed, largely baffling.

By: TR

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