Dead or Alive 2: Birds ★★★★★

Is this Miike's best film? It's certainly his most seamless weave of endearing character study, madcap yakuza fare, and poetic magical realism. Excessive in all imaginable ways, DOA2 is truly astonishing in its ability to balance moments of overwhelming kinetic violence with those of outright serenity. It helps that the plot mechanics here are just lucid enough, at least by Miike standards, though the film is not without its share of cartoon logic, particularly in the bananas final third. Still, it's hard to begrudge the prolific, unrestrained Miike for throwing in the kitchen sink when the results are this breathlessly awesome and sincerely touching.