Despite the title, The Yakuza Papers 4: Police Tactics doesn't really focus on the side of the law. Lawmen are present in some scenes, but they play a background role to the yakuza they are trailing. Instead, the film is a continuation of the war that was built up in The Yakuza Papers 3: Proxy War. The result isn't as suspenseful as its predecessor since its focus is really on how the yakuza falls apart, but it's no less compelling. The script offers the usual tense combination of double-dealing and sudden, shocking murders but it also finds the time for some poignant moments that illustrate the human cost of the yakuza lifestyle, the best being the tale of a young foot soldier whose friendship with an underboss in a rival family is doomed to end badly. Bunta Sugawara toplines once again as Hirono, but the story sidelines him much of the time; instead, much of the film's dramatic weight is carried by series regulars like Nobuo Kaneko, Takeshi Kato, and Tatsuo Umemiya. That said, Sugawara makes the most of his time here, creating the portrait of a man succumbing to bitterness after spending too long suffering the treachery of others. Kinji Fukasaku handles the cast well, making the human drama deeply felt between all the double-crosses and gangland slayings, and gives the film the kind of trademark fast and furious visual style that defines this series. The finished film never hits the intense peaks of the first or third entries in the series, but The Yakuza Papers 4: Police Tactics remains a strong entry in a very impressive film series.
by Donald Guarisco review