Forget 'Beat' Takeshi. Japan's hottest export is currently Miike Takashi. Best known on these shores for the terrifying psycho-chiller Audition, Miike's spent the last few years speed-filming dozens of demented Yakuza action flicks that are only just beginning to filter across to the West. About bleedin' time.
The joy of Miike's films are their unexpected twists on familiar material. City Of Lost Souls is no exception, blending gangsters, midgets, POV shots from inside urine-filled toilets and a Matrix-style CG cockfight to eye-splatting effect.
It may not have the genius of Dead Or Alive or Ichi The Killer - a yet-to-be-released film that's so deranged the BBFC demanded three minutes of cuts - but it's certainly enough to be going on with. At least until the long-awaited release of Takashi's Shinjuku Triad Society trilogy.