With his life under threat, ageing Yakuza, Aniki Yamamoto (Beat Takeshi) escapes to Los Angeles in search of his young brother Ken. Ken is a small time drug dealer who is pushed around by the Mexicans, until he is reunited with Aniki. Aniki teams up with Ken and his friends and fellow gang member Denny (Omar Epps).
Soon Yamamoto finds himself back into his old routine playing gang wars with the Mexicans. After clearing out the Mexicans Yamamoto, Ken, Denny and some local Yakuza (including Susumu Terajima) end up coming against some of the deadliest players in the game, the mafia.
This film has a strong presence compared to Beat’s other movies, such as Hana-Bi and Violent Cop. It comes with the traditional shocking violence, just like any other Beat movie. But this film being filmed in both Japan and Los Angeles, with a mixed cast must have been a challenge for Kitano, challenge handled well.
More about the strong violence. This isn’t the average, whack, bang, bleeding nose. This is smashing broken chopsticks up the nose or being stabbed in the eye with a bottle of wine and having your ribs broken. This is vintage Kitano! He has seriously been hiding some tricks up his sleeve. With this strong violence this led to many cuts in the US, but the uncut version has been released in the UK by FilmFour. Although Japanese Extended versions have been floating about and boy is it tempting.
My Thoughts are nice and clear, Violent + Yakuza vs. The Mafia + mixed with Black comedy = A truly amazing film!