Review Date: 12/5/99
Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Shosuke Tanihara, Miho Nomoto, Tamaki Kenmochi, Riki Takeuchi
Holy crap, what a surprisingly nasty film this is! This is the tale of a young yakuza boss named Riki Fudoh (Shosuke Tanihara) who has plans to replace the old stodgy yakuza blood with new young blood - namely, himself. He and his secret army of killers (including cute schoolgirls and young children) take out all of the gang bosses, and Riki is forced into a conflict with his own father, who's a pretty nasty guy. He had killed his eldest son to appease the Korean mob, and now intends to sacrifice Riki and his friends as well. The film ends on a maddening note as Riki and the head Korean boss (Riki Takeuchi with an amazing mullet) face off with each other. They both draw their weapons and then BANG, the credits roll. Aaargh! Why do the Japanese like doing this sort of thing so much?!? Anyway, the film is very well made - the cinematography looks great, the performances are very good (particularly Tanihara's), the gunplay is amazingly good for a Japanese production, the story is interesting and thoughtful throughout, and the whole production has a great comic book look and feel (it was supposedly based on a manga series). As with many Japanese films, the pacing is slow, but consistent, and many of the subtleties of Japanese and yakuza culture left me confused. But where the film really pays off is that it manages to constantly ambush the viewer about every five minutes with shocking displays of sex, violence, and decadence. We have severed heads, exploding corpses, kids with guns, vaginal blowdarts (!!!), cel phone knives, schoolgirls with Uzis, hermaphrodite sex, anal exploration, acid baths, urination, and obscene amounts of blood sprayed, splashed, and thrown all over the place. A simply amazing film that's guaranteed to shock and offend just about everyone. Highly recommended if you're looking for something out of the ordinary (or if you just want to see drop-dead gorgeous Miho Nomoto in and out of a schoolgirl uniform).