Too much "giri" (symbolics) & too less "yakuza" (action). Robert Mitchum, 57, is too old for this. A lot of melancholy, nothing wrong with it, but the entire movie nearly drowns in it. Very slow, almost too slow. You feel that the story will reveal some secrets and that keeps the tension high. For me Takakura Ken is the "star" in this movie. But at the end, overall it's average. Below expectation. Bit disappointing.
Unlike Scorsese, Pollack doesn't get Schrader's violent existentialism & instead attempts to romanticise the relationship between characters; to give them a relatable sympathetic edge. The result is a stylish, often quite beautiful action movie in the tradition of Point Blank; however it's clear from the progression of the narrative that this, like Taxi Driver, would've played better as a nihilistic revenge fantasy.
In black ink, Sydney Pollock draws a cheesy attempt at justifying Schrader's badass script which is tattooed with a lot of muscular potential. What attracts me the most besides watching Robert Mitchum getting almost into a ninja in Yazuka territory, are the neatly-cutted and intensely staged fightscenes, which are done with great enthusiasm and should've wiped out the romantic part of the story -completely!
Overlooked '70s gem that blends samurai and noir. Incredible creds involved: Schrader, Towne, Pollack, Mitchum, and in one of the baddest badass roles ever, Ken Takakura. Builds to an insane, violent finale with hanzo swords and sawed-off shotguns. Cool factor through the roof.
although highly unrealistic, this is a pretty enjoyable movie. Mitchum shines, as usual, and he seemed to have a real respect for the subject of the film and treated it in a way that movies like American Ninja or some other American made movies about Japan has done long after this movie was made and imitated.
One of the last great films Mitchum did. Mitchum and Takakura are outstanding, Pollacks best although anyone who has already seen Yakuza films before this one may feel it explains too much about them. However, it is a great introduction to the genre to westerners who are unfamiliar with it. The last half an hour is particularly brilliant.