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Agitator Review

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A yakuza clan exploits a low-level gang-war by attempting to mediate.

★★★★★

The prolific Takashi Miike directs this lengthy 2001 Japanese saga of an attempted yakuza gang takeover (like a corporate merger with black-tie meetings by day and bloody hits by night).

A far less outrageous film than Miike's cartoony bloodbath Ichi The Killer, Agitator still contains a brief, pointlessly repellent sexual assault near the start.

Though there are flashes of dark wit, punchy action, some well-judged flourishes and a sense of brooding fatalism, it all amounts to very little given the lack of story focus or sympathetic characters, with the one slightly touching (male) relationship truncated midway.

More OTT carnage than you can shake a blood-splattered katana at, but all to no effect.