Internationally acclaimed director and Japanese media phenomenon Takeshi Kitano follows up his well-regarded Kikujiro with this straight-ahead gangster saga with a cross-cultural twist. The film focuses on Yamamoto (Kitano), a yakuza forced out of the country when a gang war all but wipes out his clan. Armed with a fake credit card, a forged passport, and a bag of money, he journeys to the strange and foreign land of Los Angeles to join his half-brother Ken (Claude Maki), who works as a low-rent street tough alongside fast-talking hustler Denny (Omar Epps). With brutal efficiency, the poker-faced Yamamoto starts staking out turf and organizing Ken's mob into one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in the city. As his gang grows in number and power, he is joined by Kato (Kitano regular Susumu Terajima), his former lieutenant from Japan, who entreats Little Tokyo's pathological crime boss Shirase (Masaya Kato) to join the group. Yamamoto seems unstoppable until his gang runs afoul of the Mafia. Soon, all that he built quickly and bloodily starts to unravel as every member in his gang is marked for death. This film was screened at the 2000 Toronto Film Festival.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis