Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Takeshi Kitano directs and stars in this confused and flavourless yakuza film, less of an action movie and more of a violent drama. Three rival families are vying for superiority in the Japanese underworld, at first making monetary deals and pledging allegiances, but these only provide a brittle sense of peace that will soon be disturbed. Keeping the three groups of hoods straight is a real challenge in this film, the actors give it their all but their characters are painfully homogeneous, centering around Kitano as the member of one family who initiates a bloodbath when he commits an unsanctioned killing against a rival leader and it leads to scene after scene of nasty but emotionless revenge. At some point it would be great if there was any manner of strategizing amongst these characters, all of them show up and allow themselves to be killed quite easily in scenes whose fight choreography is never particularly convincing, and Kitano’s character is particularly lacking in motivation or resolve.