"First Love" resonates because the director and screenwriter Masa Nakamura have more on their minds than just carnage. They bring the story back to its human core, and find the beating heart at the center of all the bloodshed.
Often darkly funny, "First Love" is also very violent, and it's not just about gunplay. There's a beheading in the movie's first few minutes just to let everyone know, if they've somehow forgotten, that they've walked into a Takashi Miike film.
[Takashi Miike's] recent output just feels a little too produced and overseen by the Japanese government. Despite all this, First Love's warm and tender nature keeps it an endearing and heartwarming addition to the master's filmography.