Encouraged by the recent 'Deep Seijun' tribute in Tokyo, Suzuki emerges from directorial retirement with a kind-of-remake of Branded to Kill, the film that ended his career as a studio director in 1967. From the first moments (a pre-credits cameo by Sawada, falling off Tokyo Station), it's obvious that this is a mistake. This time the No. 3 Killer is a woman (Esumi, last seen in Maboroshi), as is the agent who lines up her jobs (Yamaguchi, mostly encased in a white/purple fashion burka). As one outré, over-designed hit follows another, the film touches every cultural base it can think of, from reggae to Art Deco; but there's no narrative momentum, the genre foundations have collapsed and there's nothing for the actors to do but pose. The free-floating virtuoso images (some of which reference Suzuki's Greatest Hits of the 1960s) soon become excruciating. If Branded to Kill had been anything like this, Nikkatsu would have been justified in firing him.