A Japanese Yakuza gangster is exiled to the United States. Takeshi settles in Los Angeles where his younger, half brother lives and finds that although the turf is new, the rules are still the same as they try to take over the local drug trade.Written by
This is the 4th Kitano film I've seen recently. It has most of the characteristics of the other films - the sudden, shocking violence, the impassive silences, the same supporting actors, the obligatory seaside scene. But the shift to an American location weakens it, despite the excellent contributions of the US actors, especially Omar Epps.
But the core, unmissable qualities of a Kitano film remain. Takeshi Kitano must be the natural successor to Clint Eastwood as an anti-hero. Most of the stylised violence takes place off-screen, with a flash of humour, then the after-effects vividly on display. The sound-track from Joe Hisaishi matches the screen action perfectly, at times an aggressive supplement to the violence, at other times hauntingly peaceful.
The ending is the film's weakest part, as though Kitano pandered to imagined (or real) American requirements. The out-of-town setting and road movie elements fit uncomfortably with the rest of the film. But if this is the compromise needed to get Kitano to make more films out of Japan, it must be worthwhile.
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