Suzuki's Tokyo Drifter is one of the finest artistic middle fingers ever made, an absurdist take on the yakuza film that makes deliberate, stylish nonsense of its story to infuriate the studio boss who had it in for the director. The result is a kaleidoscopic, day-glo frenzy that gleefully skewers genre conventions, not merely of yakuza films but the Western as well; a ridiculous barroom brawl prefigures the deconstructive climax of Blazing Saddles by nearly a decade. Incessantly inventive, always bewildering, Tokyo Drifter is a delight. Criterion's new Blu-Ray restoration only brings this eye-popping feast to more energetic life.
My full review is up now at Spectrum Culture.