Brother is another violent Japanese yakuza film starring and written, edited, and directed by "Beat" Takeshi Kitano (Fireworks, Violent Cop), but with a twist. This one's mostly set in Los Angeles and co-stars Omar Epps (Love & Basketball, Juice). It also features some of the most sinister scenes of a gangster-on-the-rise since Brian De Palma's Scarface. Stolid Yamamoto (Kitano, who, as usual, doesn't talk or smile much) watches his Tokyo crime empire collapse into the hands of a rival gang, forcing his retreat to L.A. There he does what he knows best: instigates gang warfare. He hooks up with Denny (Epps), who shares Yamamoto's perverse love of gaming and gambling. Everything looks rosy until they form an alliance with another yakuza boss who starts a beef with the Mafia. Brother is far from perfect--some of the comic relief falls flat, and the English-language dialogue often sounds stilted. Still, the staccato action sequences are energizing exercises in film-language precision; it's a perfect example of a movie mainstream American audiences would watch and enjoy if only corporate distribution dogma didn't dictate that (even partially) subtitled films don't get wide releases.