Underrated barely begins to descibre this little gem from Mochizuki. While the average "yakuza trying to go straight" story would be filled with loud predictable cliches, the story here has more interest in exploring the characters, getting to know them better. I can see why this movie will be compare to Kitano's stuff, but Mochizuki deserves recognition for creating a very personal unniverse for the story. Must see.
Separating this from the rest of the Japanese New-New Wave is slickness: Mochizuki shoots his scenes with a pornographer's (as he once was) clinical, cynical eye. Yoshio Harada is indeed the right man for this job, emoting like an abused, muzzled pit bull. It all comes beautifully together to imply that external factors do not destroy a man, only the internal violence he briefly allows to come up for air.