Sunday, February 02, 2020

Once a Yakuza . . .

Trouble never ends for Goro the assassin in another of the series of Yakuza films about the character, 1968's Outlaw: Black Dagger (無頼 黒匕首). As Nikkatsu yakuza movies from the 60s go, there's little out of the ordinary in this film, but star Tetsuya Watari is reliably tormented and handsome.

This time he tries to go straight by taking a construction job. Things are soon derailed when he inevitably runs across old acquaintances and colleagues. In this case, he runs into an old flame and a man who killed another of Goro's loves, who also happens to be the son of the local yakuza boss. To top it all off, a nurse living in the town happens to look exactly like the dead woman--and is also played by Chieko Matsubara.

Watari always has a magnetic screen presence and the plot is good enough. The sex scenes feel a little stiff but the action scenes are effective. Director Keiicchi Ozawa finds creative compositions amid the choreography of Goro, armed with just that titular tanto dagger, fighting off five or six guys.

Outlaw: Black Dagger is available on Amazon Prime.

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