With the authorities cracking down on organized crime, many yakuza families prolonged their existences by becoming political parties. The cops weren't fooled, but it did make it harder to prosecute them.
The talkiest of the entries and the entry burdened with the task of wrapping up dozens of loose threads, FINAL EPISODE depicts the legitimization of the crime and protection business and draws a curtain on the life of Bunta Sugawara's symbolic yakuza "torpedo".
It is as compelling for its performances as for its historical detail. Right up until the last body falls, director Fukasaku keeps the energy level high and kicks the narrative along at a heady pace.
It has been a monumental journey and a classic, unforgettable piece of cinema.
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