Director: Kosaku Yamashita
Notable Cast: Junko Fuji
AKA: Red Peony Gambler: Here Comes Oryu, Oryu, the Beautiful Woman Gambler
Even by the time I hit the fourth entry, the Red Peony Gambler franchise was running thin for the formula. All four are decent films, but knowing that I was only halfway through the entire run of the series made me hesitant to keep up my enthusiasm. There had been a firm formula established by the second film and by that fourth entry it already felt as though the series was heavily leaning on gimmicks to keep it afloat. It was still working, but there were plenty of red flags fluttering in the wind. Of course, leave it to the fifth film in the series to reignite my admiration. Red Peony Gambler 5: Biographies of a Gambling Room strips back much of the gimmicks from the last few films and focuses on a tightly woven script, impressive layered performances, and strong themes about death, the yakuza life, and roles of the parent.