Another banger from the godfather of Yakuza cinema, set amid the snow-bound savagery of the northern regions. Larger groups ply their influence among a local dispute that spirals into reactionary bloodshed, while Hiroki Matsukata’s brash upstart carves his own recklessly ambitious path to power.
I’ve seen this called the director’s last Yakuza film, and it certainly unfolds like a Battles movie that’s been constructed into a more deliberate and refined package. Hokuriku Proxy War’s tight plot efficiently marries the brutal customs of its fringe clans with broader underworld maneuvering, its faction carnage erupting in chaotic and slyly humorous Fukasaku fashion. A gritty, grisly, iced-over meatgrinder of a film that includes more torture by neck-deep snow burial than you might expect