TIFF 2015 Review: Yakuza Apocalypse
After hearing the phrase ‘Yakuza vampire,’ meeting a human grafted with a bird’s beak and turtle shell, and a looming undertaker wielding a taser, and a renowned terrorist who wears a felt frog costume seems entirely normal and fitting.
This is Yakuza Apocalypse, a wildly-outrageous, excessively violent, and exceptionally bizarre explosion of a film. As chaotic and random as this Japanese tale from Takashi Miike is, the story is simple, if not ridiculous. Kageyama wants to be a great Yakuza, so he trains under ‘the boss,’ but when he is murdered, Kageyama inherits his responsibility and powers.
The latter would be vampiric ones, as that’s the natural absurd progression these films must take. Perhaps next it’s Yakuza in space or zombie Yakuza, but nonetheless, it’s immortal ones here, and the once well-run town is becoming infected.
What wastes no time being bloody, with a violent opening, turns towards the weird, step by hilarious step. Both hysterical and grotesque, Yakuza Apocalypse finds the aforementioned trio of peculiar bad guys (including one who has an odor problem) descending on the world once tended to by the Yakuza. Entertaining battles ensue, and the film runs far too long, especially during a finale battle that turns inward and keeps things simple instead of ratcheting up the chaos.
Don’t try to make sense of anything; just try to endure. There are no half measures when it come to Yakuza Apocalypse; it is absolutely inane; apologetically so.