The lone, wandering gangster is as standard a figure in Japanese cinema as the lone, wandering samurai. Traditionally, both fought out of a self-imposed sense of duty and obligation.

In modern-day incarnations of these figures, such as the exiled-to-Taiwan hitman in Takashi Miike’s “Rainy Dog” (1997), the macho romanticism of older films may be alive and well, but there is often a grittier realism. Relentlessly pursued by his enemies, Miike’s hero is more like a hunted animal than a noble warrior.

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