First Love

Director: Takashi Miike
Year Released: 2019
Rating: 2.0

Leo (Masataka Kubota), a fighter diagnosed with a tumor, and Yuri/Monica (Sakurako Konishi), a call girl that's addicted to drugs, find themselves in the middle of a good old fashioned Yakuza war involving your prerequisite corrupt police officer and a ton of meth.  The familiar setup is just an opportunity for Miike - who has now directed over one-hundred movies (he's his own studio) - to throw in some custom oddball moments: Monica has hallucinations about a salaryman in his tighty-whiteys following her, there's a toy dog that sets off an explosion and one scene that abruptly becomes animated (for no good reason).  Like his fellow countryman Seijun Suzuki, he's not exactly reinventing how a crime story is told, just doing it with personal touches ... which may be enough for some, but for me it's the same stale cookie with new sprinkles on top.  There is a surprising amount of violence against women, too, but that's just Miike being an equal opportunity abuser (the men get hacked up and shot to bits).