For his fifth or sixth film of 2002 -- one easily loses count -- Takashi Miike adapts Kinji Fukasaku's 1975 gangster classic Jingi no Hakaba about a doomed love affair between a renegade yakuza and his long-suffering girlfriend. Whereas the original film was set in the poverty of Japan's immediate postwar era, this work is set during Japan's yen-flushed bubble era of the 1980s through the economic malaise of the 1990s. The film opens with Rikuo Ishimatsu (Goro Kishitani) coming to the aid of crime lord Sawada (Shingo Yamashiro) with guns a-blazin' in a slick Chinese restaurant. The grateful godfather makes Ishimatsu his under boss, though he quickly establishes himself as a loose cannon with a hair-trigger temper. His first meeting with his future common-in-law wife Chieko (Narimi Arimori) is short and violent: He rapes her in a hostess club. Not only does she not press charges, but she falls for the brute. Later, Ishimatsu is thrown in jail for killing a loan welsher where he becomes friends with Imamura (Ryosuke Miki), a lieutenant in a rival gang. When Ishimatsu finally gets out of stir, both Sawada and Chieko are waiting for him. He quickly rises the ranks of the gang power structure, only for him to blow it over a misunderstanding over a ten-million-yen loan. Ishimatsu's temper gets the better of him, and causes harm to all close to him.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis