Every character and almost every incident in this sprawling yakuza gang-war saga is generic, and so Miike looks for ways to liven things up - but doesn't find many. As usual in these movies, a large crime syndicate plots to exploit the war between two smaller gangs by pretending to mediate and actually swallowing both. This was set up by Daiei Co. as a vehicle for Masaya Kato (also in Kitano's Brother), here playing the loose cannon who thwarts the plan with his shirt open to the navel throughout. Miike aims for 'realism' by using two cameras and shooting the whole thing in available light, but the dead weight of genre traditions proves impossible to shake off. Most striking moment: Miike's own cameo as 'depraved yakuza sadist in karaoke lounge', the man who triggers the gang-war. (The 190-minute, two-part video release also features the excellent Daisuke Ryu, not seen in this theatrical cut.
Cast and crew