March 10, 2015

Tokyo Tribe (2014)

Tokyo Tribe (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Shion Sono
Country: Japan

Movie Review: Shion Sono’s latest, blends street gang action with hip-hop musical, and the effect is no less than effervescent. Based on Santa Inoue’s manga series of the same title, “Tokyo Tribe” opens with a kid on top of a slum’s barrack in Bukuro, saying to another: ‘when I grow up I’ll bring hope and joy to this city’. As you can imagine, the words hope and joy hardly fit here, and not even a minute later, we can witness the decadent reality of these colorful streets – drug trafficking, prostitution, crime, violence, and police negligence. We are introduced to the numerous rival gangs (called tribes) that control the different areas of Tokyo at the sound of rap tunes. From all the 23 existent gangs, Wu-Ronz and Musashino Saru got more attention. Wu Ronz’s bosses, the cannibal assassins and sex exploiters, Lord Buppa and his son Nkoi who uses sculptural women as his furniture, together with the savage expert in blades, Mera, are planning to destroy the remaining tribes and take total control of the city. After Musashino Saru’s leader has been killed, is Kai, Mera’s mortal foe, who will assume the leadership of his gang and try to unite the tribes for a bloody street battle without precedent. Among the large number of characters, some are memorable: sexy kung-fu fighter Erika, filthy grotesque Lord Buppa, and the ultra-brutal corpulent warrior who are constantly asking for sauna. “Tokyo Tribe” it’s pure fun from start to finish, a hive of lust, power and crime, depicted with a furious hilarity that I would never think possible in Sono. The songs are great, the digital treatment of the images is perfect, and the camera gets as wild as the gang members. Flashy, funny, insolent and vicious… this is Sono at his best.

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