review for The Yakuza Papers 3: Proxy War on AllMovie

The Yakuza Papers 3: Proxy War (1973)
by Donald Guarisco review

The Yakuza Papers 3: Proxy War might not be as overwhelming as the first film in the series, but it definitely gives it a run for the money. The script for this one is built upon a series of shifting alliances, secret deals, and double-crosses so complex it could provide enough material for an entire season of your average television drama. That said, The Yakuza Papers 3: Proxy War works because it makes the untangling of this web of deceit into a compelling film. As with the first Yakuza Papers, Bunta Sugawara anchors the film as Hirono, a somber, upright individual trying to hang on to his honor in a world of backstabbers. Nobuo Kaneko makes an excellent opponent to Sugawara as his dastardly, manipulative ex-boss, and Takeshi Kato is similarly nasty as a one-time ally of Hirono who tries to put him in the line of fire after using him for his connections. Behind the camera, Kinji Fukasaku handles the intricate storyline with skill, offsetting the film's many terse dialogue exchanges with shocking blasts of violence and the occasional moment of mournful beauty (the tragic finale, where Hirono sees the human cost of the war he is in, is a stunner). All in all, The Yakuza Papers 3: Proxy War is a top-shelf yakuza film and worthy entry in this series.