5 Best Yakuza Movies
Quench your appetite for money, power and violence with the five best Japanese Yakuza movies. No matter what side of the planet you’re on everyone loves a good gangster movie. Where American gangster movies focus on the Irish and Italian mobsters or gang bangers, Japanese gangster movies focus on Yakuza clans. Criminal organizations whose roots can be traced back to feudal Japan. Just like American gangster movies, the five best Japanese Yakuza movies are awash with violence, style and brilliant double crosses.
“Outrage” (2010)- After a brief hiatus from directing Yakuza films, actor-director Takeshi "Beat" Kitano returns to his roots with this one of the five best Yakuza movies. Takeshi takes the lead in this Yakuza movie as Otomo; a cop who has been dealt a series of life altering changes in a short time span. His wife has cancer and his partner has been paralyzed in the line of duty. In efforts to help the ones that he loves Otomo quits the police force to spend more time with his wife, his friend and to exact bloody revenge on the Yakuza clan that he feels has called him so much pain.
“Ichi the Killer” (2001)- This one of the five best Yakuza movies is a must see for fans of gore and gangsters. When his boss goes missing Kakihara-- a henchman with a penchant for S&M--goes looking for the missing boss. Finding out who has kidnapped the boss is the easy part, but getting past Ichi-- a sexually repressed martial arts genius with razors on his shoes-- is going to be much harder. Watching the killer who longs for pain go toe to toe with a sexually repressed killer who isn’t sure about how he feels about dishing it out is funny and awesome.
“Gozu” (2003)- As a young recruit in the Azamawari clan Minami looks up to his brother Ozaki-- a guy who has saved his ass a few times before. Ozaki is a good guy but compared to the rest of the guys in his clan he’s an odd duck and his random outbursts are starting to make the rest of the clan nervous. So they do what any good Yakuza clan they decide that Ozaki has to go and it’s up to his best friend to do the dead. Watching a weird journey that ends in murder and a missing body is why this is one of the five best Japanese Yakuza movies.
“ Bakuto Gaijin Butai” aka “Gamblers in Okinawa” (1971)- This one of the five Japanese Yakuza movies is all about turf wars and stamping out the competition. When Koji and his Yakuza clan are driven out of Yokohama by a rival gang they’re forced into Okinawa. Gone but not forgotten Koji and his clan decide that they’re going to completely dominate the competition in their new city while they plot their return to Yokohama. Directed by Kinji Fukasku this is a classic Japanese Yakuza that is a must see for fans of the genre.
“Tokyo Drifter” (1966)- Punctuated by it’s swinging '60s style, this one of the five best Japanese Yakuza movie marks the point where Japanese films began to tap into the cultural revolution that was sweeping the West in the '60s. Tetsu and his boss have decided to hang up the gangster life and talk a walk on the straight and narrow. But when an old rival starts trying to muscle in on their legitimate businesses Tetsu becomes a drifter to lure the baddies away from his boss and into a death trap.