Entertaining but not comparable to Ishii's earlier works.
Although offering one of the best action sequences I ever saw
,,Smuggler''quickly looses its fascination at the other half of the film ,crossing the viewer's line of pain tolerance thanks to the unnecessary torture scenes. Having watched ,, Ichi the Killer '' that would not be of a problem if there only wasn't the unsatisfying other half of the plot, ending abruptly and disappointedly mundane. Added the too superficial ,,new'' characters , especially the one played by Hikari the film looses its initial potential. Long story short: Smuggler is a entertaining film ,but you can miss it . The strong first half promises something outstanding , enhancing the viewer's disappointment of the other half. 2 hours lenght , some more character depth ,less torture and this would surely be a ,,9''. Overall I can advice you ; better watch Ishii's Shark Skin Man if you want to see something really outstanding or if you can tolerate extreme violence and disturbance ,,Ichi the Killer '', which has partially the same plot and similar characters.
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