Veteran yakuza flick filmmaker Ikuo Sekimoto made this mobster saga about a Robin Hood-like crook with a heart of gold. Set during the late '30s, the film centers on Tatsugoro Iwaki (Masahiro Takashima) who is first seen sparing the life of his dark-hearted rival, Toyama (Masaya Kato), after a particularly ugly street brawl. Three years later, Iwaki impresses his hosts -- the Hamanaka gang of Kyushu -- by single-handedly taking out a group of rival thugs muscling in on Hamanaka turf. Soon afterwards, he helps a comely dealer working a gangland card table who discovers a group of cheats none too thrilled over being found out. After he eviscerates one and throws the rest out, he learns that one of the cheats (played by none other than Takeshi Kitano) murdered the dealer's father. She has vowed revenge, and has tattooed the length of her back with a dragon to prove her determination. Fast forward to 1942, Iwaki ventures back to his home in Kyoto to start his own gang. Unfortunately, he runs afoul of Toyama, his former rival, who is still burning with a murderous hatred toward Iwaki. In spite of a truce called by mob elders for the sake of the war effort, Toyama plots revenge as Iwaki falls for a kind-hearted lass named Chiyoko (Kaori Takahashi).
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