Throughout December, J.R. Jones and I will take turns writing about our favorite films that screened in Chicago this year.

Takashi Miike is incontestably the greatest working genre director in the world, having made over 80 movies and TV series that range from modern gangster sagas to children’s films to art house dramas. This samurai extravaganza was one of his most sustained efforts, a little less woolly than his best work (Dead or Alive 2: Birds, Izo) but no less weird or exuberant.