October 14, 2015

Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Yakuza Apocalypse (2015) - Movie Review
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Country: Japan

Movie Review: Japanese director Takashi Miike doesn’t give up trying to shock us with abhorrent films suffused with physical and psychological violence in addition to a few obnoxious scenes whose only goal is to make you feel nauseous. In “Yakuza Apocalypse”, his new maniac Tarantinoesque exercise, he bridges the yakuza underground scene with zombie horror. The result is darkly unsubstantial, disgracefully unfunny, and chaotically absurdist. The excruciating action scenes, despite kinetic, soon becomes highly tiresome while the script by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi is clearly trying to gain followers among younger crowds. The fantasy is centered on Kageyama (Hayato Ichihara), a young and brave yakuza who ambitions to be like his popular boss, a vampire who passes him the curse of becoming an immortal sanguinary criminal. The thing is that not every blood is nourishing – the civilians are good blood suppliers while the yakuza are to avoid. Along with these preoccupations, Kageyama has to fight the opponents of his gang, a bunch of crazy characters that include a dark medieval cowboy who speaks only in English and carries a sophisticated gun inside a coffin, a fierce Indonesian warrior (Yayan Ruhian from “The Raid”) who hauled the boss’ head after twisting it a dozen of times, and a destructive giant frog with superpowers. As allies, there’s a woman known as Captain whose lethal weapon is a slimy white liquid that she spouts out of her ears. But of course that “Yakuza Apocalypse” has something else besides gangs and fighting. There’s also love since Kageyama is trying to figure out the best way of dealing with his passionate impulses (both of the heart and thirst for blood) when he’s in the presence of the damaged Kyoko who’s recovering from a traumatic experience at a local hospital. It’s sad to realize that so many good ideas are wasted amidst repetitive graphical blood-spattered scenes and human torture. Prolific filmmaker Takashi Miike pulls out a tedious finale, in an ignominious head-to-head fighting sequence that determines which fighter punches harder and screams louder than the other one. The cinematography by Hajime Kanda is the only aspect that deserves attention in this pathetic vampire yakuza tale.

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