Yakuza Apocalypse – wonderfully entertaining Miike insanity
Written by: Yoshitaka Yamaguchi
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Japanese auteur Takashi Miike has made a lot (I mean A LOT) of crazy, ultra-violent shockfests in his day. From “Audition” to “Gozu”, it doesn’t take one watching many of his films to realize that, with Miike, nothing is off limits. That, coupled with the fact that he seems to pump out like seven films a year, has earned him a large, devoted following. That following, along with anyone who likes a certain level of WTF factor in their movies, are going to absolutely love his latest “Yakuza Apocalypse”.
In this gangster/vampire flick, an infamous yakuza boss (Frankie) is assassinated by a supernatural cartel. Before dying, his severed head tells his young protege Kagayama (Ichihara) that his great power comes from the fact that he is a vampire. He then transfers all of said power to Kagayama by biting him. Experiencing an unquenchable thirst for blood, Kagayama goes on a biting spree, turning half of the population of the small town into his vampire underlings. He then sets out to avenge his fallen boss, and reclaim the yakuza territory.
What follows is an hour and a half of pure insanity involving a vampire army, a turtle man, a giant fire-breathing frog, an assassin disguised as a lost tourist (Yayan Ruhian of “The Raid” fame), and an axe-wielding teenager. Genre rules and narrative structure are completely thrown out, and Miike just lets all of his deranged ideas out on the unsuspecting viewer. It is wonderful to behold.
Some people will not care one bit for Miike’s brand of mayhem, especially here where it is dialed up to maximum power. People looking for a straight yakuza film are sure to be left scratching their heads. If, however, you enjoy a movie where you can’t help giggling at the unbelievable craziness on screen, look no further. “Yakuza Apocalypse” is just what you are searching for!