Remember that fun-on-the-beach sequence from Kitano’s Sonatine? Well, here it is again but stretched out for two hours. Kitano stars as Kikujiro, a hard-boiled… something. He’s not a gangster, as his wife says early on, “Quit playing the gangster”, so what is he? He’s just a man assigned to escort an 8-year-old neighboring boy to see his mother who lives far away, making for a road movie that avoids all the road movie clichés. Along the way they play games, lose all their money, make friends with the wimpiest bikers I’ve ever seen on film, and become close friends. If you are expecting the cool, relaxed violence prevalent in other Kitano films, you won’t be entirely disappointed but be prepared to laugh and marvel at a pair of the most gorgeous dream sequences this side of Salvador Dalí. Early on, Kitano’s jokes are often at the expense of the child but you never feel spiteful towards Kitano himself – you know the two will eventually become fast friends, striking a bond that will last forever. Awwww. OK, so it doesn’t avoid all the road movie clichés. See it anyway.