'All events and characters in the film are entirely sick, any resemblance to persons living or dead is a sad coincidence.' As disclaimers go, that's on the nail: Miike's adaptation of Hideo Yamamoto's notorious manga is alarmingly faithful. Which means that these two hours of extreme violence, sadism and masochism are calculated to challenge every censor in the world: no part of the male or female body is left unsliced, and no bodily fluid is left unsplattered. The yakuza Kakihara (Asano, flinching from nothing) mobilises his gang to track down the legendary killer Ichi, suspected murderer of their boss; Kakihara is also searching for a sadist who can torture him with the same love he used to get from the dead man. No one suspects that Ichi (Omori, son of butoh legend Akaji Maro) is a helpless cry-baby who becomes the ultimate killer in a superhero costume only when under hypnosis from the vengeful Jijii (Tsukamoto), whose secret agenda is to stir up a gang-war. Funny, absurd, nightmarishly visceral and - of course - deeply serious.