Directed by Takashi Miike
Japan | 115 minutes | North American Premiere
FRI | SEP 18 11:59 PM | Ryerson | SUBTITLED
SAT | SEP 19 3:00 PM | Scotiabank Theatre Scotiabank 2 | SUBTITLED
Sometimes a film comes along that is so over-the-top, so bizarre and strange that it defies description. This doesn’t always mean such a film is good, but it does mean the film gives and blasé eyes something new to see.
Let me begin to try and describe Yakuza Apocalypse, the most recent and experimental work by bad boy Japanese genre-auteur Takeshi Miike. In all honesty, however, I’m not sure I understood most of what was happening in the film myself. We have a film about yakuza, that is the traditional name given to the gangster subculture of Japan. Some of these gangsters are also vampires. These Yakuza-vampires war with one another and Miike seems to take all the conventions of the genre, throw them in a blender and Yakuza Apocalypse is what spews forth. Frog monsters, Japanese kappa-goblins, schoolgirls, some dude with a backpack and truly vicious martial arts skills, played by Yayan Ruhian of The Raid fame, kaiju, tons of knife, sword and gun-battle –a motley crew of characters collude to eviscerate the screen. Yakuza Apocalypse is a cinematic assault on the senses. We have numerous hand to hand and gunfight battles, elements of torture, rape, exaggerated performers committing lewd and perverse acts, a Japanese grand guignol. Imagine a genre that might be called “Dada-kabuki” and you’ll begin to sense the cinematic strategies at work in Miike’s film. I can’t say the film is always successful, but it most certainly is compelling.