25. Tokyo Mafia: Yakuza Wars (1995)
Director: Seiichi Shirai
It’d be criminal to discuss yakuza films without mentioning the iconic V-cinema (direct-to-video) star Riki Takeuchi. The slick-haired and gruff-voiced actor was an essential figure in the world of B-class yakuza flicks throughout the ‘90s.
One of his most notable films is the first of the Tokyo Mafia series, Tokyo Mafia: Yakuza Wars. Takeuchi plays Ginya Yabuki, a mid-level gangster who wields some weight in the Yamaryu crime syndicate (a fictional version of Yamaguchi-gumi). All's kosher until he receives a whooping from the organization’s second-in-command, which gets him kicked out of the clan; he even loses a pinky as a form of atonement.
The film then rolls into a series of extremely gory scenes; throughout the movie, multiple bodies are dismembered, ashtrays are cracked on facials and eyeballs get popped out. It’s a quintessential B-class yakuza movie with cheesy jazz background music and over-the-top dialogue (with actors extensively rolling the “R” sound). Although not an arthouse flick or a period piece with much content, Tokyo Mafia: Yakuza Wars is a prime example of the straight-to-video yakuza movies produced during this era.