Sometimes a film just hits. It's not that this film is so unique. A yakuza who tries to go straight gets drawn in to a war...that's not even the only film by this filmmaker I have seen on this day that is about that...but it is about mood, feeling, character.
Shot like a noir, with milky blacks in scope, with the coolest saddest Jazz score you will have heard for some time, Jo (of Tokyo Drifter fame) is a yakuza first seen dispatching a woman he loved. His brother, an aspiring boxer under the wing of a family head, will have none of this. This soon causes the little brother to get beaten, and the big brother Jo, in turn, to quit.
Soon enough, it is war.
Everything is perfect. The sad bar sequences. The eternal friendship of the enemies. The lensing. The climax.