A feature-length demo tape for Kubo and his crew. It's a full-blown introduction into the High & Low franchise that highlights all the gangs and factions, while setting the stage for the main trilogy. It's also a playground for Kubo to get the vibe just right and a warming up for the actors to get a feel for their characters.
SWORD is a group of five gangs that hold each other in check. They quarrel and fight, but there's never one gang strong enough to rise above the rest. There is one Yakuza family that thinks it can outsmart the SWORD alliance and to do that, they infiltrate the gangs and try to play them against each other.
Watching this film after the main trilogy is a bit weird, but it does underline the smarts of this pilot-like approach. While the potential is clearly here and there's already a lot to enjoy, it doesn't come close to the polish, vitality and joy of what would become the main course of the High & Low franchise. A fun introduction, but not as good as the real thing.