'Red Peony' is Ryu Yano (Fuji, exquisite), a woman yakuza roaming the gambling dens of 1890s Japan, righting wrongs as she goes. This was the third film (of eight) in an enjoyable but very formulary series - but the first directed by Kato, who plays these games at their highest level. Red Peony shows up in Nagoya, lodges with the righteous Nishi Clan and helps her hosts meet a challenge from the thoroughly dishonourable Kimbara Clan; she also finds time to deal with a cheat operating under her name. All the series' constants are present and correct, from Wakayama's brief appearance as a comic deus ex machina to the guest star role for a strong, silent yakuza torn between duty and humanity (here Takakura, riveting as usual). The blend of violence, card game suspense, sentimentality and melancholy is silky.