This was a bit too Sorkiny for my taste, and the film would have been better if he had reigned himself in a bit and allowed the characters to grow and breathe, rather than just ventriloquizing his brilliant thoughts. Also, the ending was weird and flat - I was waiting for some big reveal, the ace-on-the-river (about the Russian connection perhaps), but it was, as they say in poker, a total brick.
This was more enjoyable the first time round and seemed like a rather tedious succession of grisly murders this time, with little plotting or characterisation. It starts off quite well, as Kitano arrives as an exiled Yakuza in America and immediately begins applying his own deadpan brand of ruthless violence to the local hoods but it soons tails off once the gang warfare is stepped up a few notches. Not really a patch on Kitano's better gangsterish movies such as Hana-Bi or Sonatine, and quite disappointing overall.