The Yakuza (1974, dir. Sydney Pollack)

A former detective returns to Japan from the US: an old friend’s daughter under threat. Neither quite a neo-noir, an action thriller or a study of overseas crime syndicates, The Yakuza tries to be all three with variable results. Slow, but interesting, with flashes of a darker, better, and more violent film lurking.

Here’s the trailer.

Collide (2016, dir. Eran Creevy)

An American car thief in Berlin commits to a heist to fund his girlfriend’s kidney transplant. Straightforward chase thriller that takes an age to get going. There’s some good direction, and supporting villains Hopkins and Kingsley are fun, but the script is rote, foregrounding coincidences rather than ingenuity.

Here’s the trailer.

The Tax Collector (2020, dir. David Ayer)

An LA gang’s debt collecting team comes up against a rival street organisation. Very straightforward gangland drama/thriller that doesn’t offer much that’s not been seen many times before. Despite director Ayer’s welcome return to the streets, this isn’t near his best work.

Here’s the trailer.

Peninsula [AKA Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula] (2020, dir. Yeon Sang-ho)

A criminal mission to recover cash from a zombie-overrun quarantine zone goes awry. Sprawling, messy, comic-book stand-alone sequel to Train to Busan. No classic this time out, though the mashup of 80s dystopian flicks like Escape from New York and later CG-ish Fast and Furious sequels is at least distinctive.

Here’s the trailer.

John Henry (2020, dir. Will Forbes)

A middle-aged former gang member is forced to confront his past. Slow-burn, stylised LA gangland movie that riffs on John Wick, Tarantino, westerns, folk stories and a lot more. Patchy but with impressive elements, and a fine central performance plus great Ken Foree support.

Here’s the trailer.

Arkansas (2020, dir. Clark Duke)

Two low-level drug dealers find themselves in a new state, working for a new boss. Low-key, novelistic drama (adapted from the John Brandon book) with thriller elements. Its gentle pace and lack of narrative drive may infuriate some, but there’s plenty to appreciate if you go with it.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) [AKA Birds of Prey / Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey] (2020, dir. Cathy Yan)

Harley Quinn, now no longer enjoying The Joker’s protection, is both the target of vengeful Gotham criminals and embroiled in a quest for a diamond. Dayglo spinoff of Suicide Squad with some verve in its playing, direction, action choreography and design. It wants to be a female-led Deadpool, but is let down somewhat by an under-par script.

Il Divo (2008, dir. Paolo Sorrentino)

Three years in the life of Italian politician Giulio Andreotti as his career collapses. A dazzling, swaggering, operatic approach to its unpromising-sounding subject matter pays dividends, as Sorrentino finds ways to unlock a private man. A touch impenetrable without knowledge of the actual events, but remarkable nevertheless.

Gomorrah (2008, dir. Matteo Garrone)

Five sets of lives criss-cross, linked by Camorra gang-related activity in the same Naples housing project. Based on a non-fiction expose, this is an astonishing piece of work: heartfelt, brutal, unsympathetic. The ages of man, scattered between the stories. The best of its type this side of City of God.

Villain (2020, dir. Philip Barantini)

A career criminal tries to go straight, but his wayward brother’s debts force him back into crime. Modest but effective East End gangsterism, with a melancholy touch and a strong central performance. No surprises, but there’s talent in the writing and direction, and Fairbrass shows that he can be subtle.