The Yakuza

Director: Sydney Pollack
Year Released: 1974
Rating: 2.0

WWII vet with a past (Robert Mitchum) returns to Japan to settle a feud between a friend and the title mafia as well as reacquaint himself with a former love. Mitchum is an odd but strangely appropriate casting choice, and he's able to sell the role, unlike Paul Schrader's script, which is best at playing up Japanese clichés like sword fighting and pinky removal instead of dealing outright with any particular subtext like America's dubious involvement in the country (he would fare substantially better with his pensive film on the life of Yukio Mishima a decade later). The plot devices also get a little tricky, and before you know it allies become enemies and vice versa - to make up for the messy plotting, there is some combat to distract you.