3.5 Stars
Year Released: 1994
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Languorous but highly compelling tale about an aging yakuza who flirts with the notion of retirement as he gets dragged into one last showdown. The action centers around a platoon of Tokyo based gangsters who get ordered by their boss to resolve a turf war between two rival gangs in Okinawa. As the yakuza enforcer caught in the middle, Takeshi Kitano is a mesmerizing and remarkably humanistic angel of death — sort of like a young Charles Bronson. His accomplishments on screen become even more arresting when one considers that Kitano was once a stand up comedian and is also the film’s writer/director. Earlier this year Kitano treated us to a similarly complex crime drama, “Fireworks,” but “Sonatine” (which was made in 1994) is a darker, deeper, more polished work.

Posted on April 20, 1998 in Reviews by

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