This is one of the best martial arts films you're ever likely to see. It is very Japanese in spirit, with large numbers of opponents being despatched in a fast and brutal fashion, as opposed to the longer, more elaborate and dance-like fight sequences found in Chinese cinema. Chiba plays a ruthless character, and his behaviour lies way outside the norms for Western heros: early in the film he enslaves the sister of a man who owes him money and sells her to a Chinese brothel to recover his money! This kind of thing is not so unusual in Japanese cinema, but it can still be a bit hard to take even when you're used to it! However, Chiba's character is not without a moral code, and he sticks to it in such a way as to earn our admiration and respect, if not our liking. We are also recruited to his cause through association, for the main plot involves him helping some genuine good guys out against some genuine bad guys. But the main interest of the film lies in the amazing fight sequences. They combine Chiba's skill, power and grace; a good number of adversaries for him to despatch; and fantastic special effects to show the devastating results of the fighting - far more realistic in its way than the more sanitised fights seen in, well, pretty much most other films, where the worst thing that seems to happen to people is mild bruising! None of this is done in a frivolous spirit, but rather has the deep seriousness which gives this film its moral centre and saves it from being a tasteless gore fest for ghoulish teenagers. There are also some longer lasting fights with two different karate masters, and these are even better: exciting, awe-inspiring, and unequalled in any film I have seen except Way of the Dragon. Whether you enjoy this film or not, it will almost certainly be an experience you won't forget in a hurry! Try it!