An absolutely kinetic exercise in style with enough energy in its visuals to compensate for a half-baked script. At this point in his career, plot was pretty much irrelevant to Suzuki; two films later, the Japanse film industry famously blacklisted him after he turned in 'Branded to Kill', a similarly frantic-styled film which took a very typical genre screenplay and turned it into an orgy of hypercool violence and jagged structure. 'Tokyo Drifter' concerns itself with an ex-mob boss, Kurata (Ryuji Kita), and his loyal ex-muscle assistant Tetsu (Tetsuya Watari). Tetsu is wholly dedicated to a straight life; the opening sequence, shot in stunning overexposed black and white (in stark contrast to the rest of the film's bright palette), depicts Tetsu as he is brutally beat by members of his old rival gang, who are testing him to see if he's really gone legitimate. Tetsu is perfectly willing to take a beating for his boss, who has been like a father to him, until things start going cockeyed and bonds are tested. After a violent incident, Tetsu decides to set out on his own- drift, if you will- but old habits die hard, and soon Tetsu finds himself back in a world of hurt and sacrifice, where feelings of love and friendship come second to instinct and self-preservation. In every scene, Suzuki embraces the era; sixties pop vibes pulse through the vivid colors and architecture of the film even if the soul of the picture is quite the opposite of "free love". He stretches his frame and splits his subjects, forcing us to take in the entirety of each shot. It is a visual bonanza, filled with striking compositions, and requires at least another viewing just to soak in the director's living, breathing style.