From its updated Erik Satie score to its shockingly sadistic gay villain, this 'rogue cop' thriller has very obvious debts to western precedents: it tells a not-very-surprising story about a lone detective who takes on both a yakuza gang and his own corrupt superiors, and generates considerable mayhem in the process. But this formulary material makes for electrifying entertainment in the hands of Takeshi Kitano (remember him as Sergeant Hara in Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence?), who stars and directs. The whole movie is imbued with his personality, a mix of stubborn pig-headedness, blatant prejudices, committed violence, and hard, self-deprecatory humour. It's also superbly paced.
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