“WARNING. This film has been rated 18 as it infringes on public order and morality. Sit back calmly and enjoy it in total darkness.” Whew! With an intro like that, who in their right – or, more likely, wrong – mind could resist?
10 years ago, young Riki Fudoh’s older brother was killed by his Yakuza father to save his arm… and probably his ass too. Cut to the present, and various members of his pop’s gang are being snuffed out. One is shot by a couple of six year old kids wagging it from school. One is poisoned with a cup of steaming take-away coffee. And another is shot through the head in a seedy strip club.
It’s all down to Riki’s new gang, the new blood, full of young louts and hooligans from school. A bunch of rag-tag primary schoolboys kicking around a teacher’s severed head, murdered because he couldn’t pay off his drug-debt to Riki. Eight-foot-tall wet-look-permed metal-head Aizome (Kenji Takano, known in wrestling circles as “The Great Zebra”… I kid ye not!) wielding the bone-crushing power to destroy anything and anyone that gets in his way. And there’s also… ahem… I don’t really know how to put this… there’s a hermaphrodite schoolgirl who works as a part-time stripper and fires deadly darts out of her you-know-where (prompting Aizome, always the gentleman to remark, “Some cunt you are!”). She later ends up having a bizarre homo/heterosexual relationship with her latex-clad (female) English teacher!
Soon, the old-gits hit back… hard! Fudoh’s buddies are blown-up, thrown out of windows and covered in corrosive acid in the vicious gang-war that follows. So Fudoh uses his array of strange weapons (Japanese technology – always one step ahead) and his unique fighting skills to fight back even harder. Real hard!
So, what can one say? This is a Takashi Miike film, so the emphasis is more on action than plot, and you can’t get much more action packed than this. It’s like sitting in a death-cult-bikers’ pub drinking pints of pure adrenaline, smoking crack-rocks in your pipe and using dry-roasted Ecstasy for peanuts. It’s that simple. Miike has taken pure high-octane violence and turned it into an art-form… think Riverdance in Tokyo. And it’s so over-the-top too. A good example comes with the aforementioned poison decaf: rather than just close his eyes and go to sleep, the victim literally pukes his guts up and melts all over the fucking place! And there’s some fab crappy SFX too; to wit, a real guy’s head popped through a hole in a table (it’s supposed to be severed) and a laughably fake side-on-view sworded-neck. But I like that, gives it that kinda old-skool touch I think. Don’t get the wrong idea though: Miike may have a sick sense of humour and a poor grasp on reality, but I stress that this is absolutely nothing like some childish half-assed Troma comedy (that’s a fucking laugh)/gore-fest. Nor is it like a lame Hollywood actioner trying to stretch out the fading career of some middle-aged (and counting) former muscle-man. This is the real shit, baby, guaranteed (sort of) to have you so excited you’ll be chewing the carpet and headbutting the walls in sheer elation! Miss this and the Yakuza will have your fingers! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Japan’s most controversial director, notorious for his dauntingly prolific output and willingness to push the boundaries of taste. Miike started working as an assistant director in the late 80s, before moving into making straight-to-video thrillers in 1991. He made his feature debut in 1995 with the violent cop thriller Shinjuku Triad Society, and since then has averaged around seven films year.