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YAKUZA APOCALYPSE (review)

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Written by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi / Directed by Takashi Miike / Starring Hayato Ichihara, Yayan Ruhian and Lily Frankie

“Sometimes yakuza just gotta go wild”

Japanese auteur Takashi Miike has long been known for his violently graphic films (AUDITION, ICHI THE KILLER) but has long since made comedies and dramas that North American audiences don’t really get the fortune of a release. His latest film YAKUZA APOCALYPSE is an incredibly fun blend of his signature no holds barred approach to violence, comedy and an outright absurd spin on a new genre: vampire yakuza.

Yakuza boss Kamiura is rumoured to be invincible against all those who try to take him down, and that’s probably true since he is, in fact, a vampire. After a battle with a priest like man and the nerdiest of tourists, Kamiura is finally defeated and his loyal gang member Kagayama is chosen to continue the legacy of vampire yakuza boss. As Kagayama begins to turn civilians into bloodthirsty vampires, the town quickly gets divided into two camps: vampires and everyone else. But there are other forces at work here, and a creature has been summoned by the priest to help either kill of force the yakuza boss Kagayama into submission.

yakuza-apocalypse

So this summery does very little to describe the madness that is YAZUKA APOCALYPSE. it’s hard to talk about it without going into every detail of everything that happens, but if you are the type of person who goes for over the top WTF kind of films, you will surely be pleased by this one.

It isn’t all absurdity however, as Miike manages to insert a lot of very poetic scenes that are rarely seen outside of Japanese cinema: talks of vengeance, redemption, and honour. These scenes stand out in this film as beautiful moments when heads are not being ripped off or when a giant frog isn’t waltzing into town and kicking some major ass. A nice dash of commentary doesn’t hurt either; they outright say “yakuza are feeding off the blood of civilians”. There are definitely hints of the western as well and this blending of many genres creates something that will have you scratching your head, but oddly, enjoying every minute of the madness.

3.5 sheep

 

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