... but not quite in the same class. Tsuruta Koji is well-known in Japan for playing cool tough guys, and he does a pretty good job of playing the character equivalent to Sanjuro.
Aiba is a gang boss who has just got out of jail, and finds everything has changed. His old gang has broken up, and only a few people still respect him. So he becomes a consultant to another gang who are about to be clobbered by a much larger gang moving in from out of town. Aiba proves a crafty tactician, and does very well at playing gangs off against each other in order to save the smaller gang. His advice is not always taken by those he tries to help, but he is generally proved right.
All the ingredients of the standard yakuza film are here. A few pretty girls for ornamentation and a brief topless/bed scene, smouldering glares aplenty, long stretches where nothing much happens then explosive and gory battles. I was disappointed that the great Tetsuro Tamba (best known as Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice) has so little to do. As the head cop, all he does is pace up and down and look thoughtful. Dreadful waste of a great action actor.
The supporting cast all regularly appear in this sort of film, so they know their places pretty well. Quite okay entertainment, nothing particularly special.
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