Friday, February 12, 2016

Film Review: Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Yakuza Apocalypse (Review)
Japan/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...an entertaining experience, offering something very creative and engaging."

Yakuza boss Kamiura harbors a sinister secret, which he passes on to his faithful right-hand man Kageyama (Hayato Ichihara)…

Yakuza Apocalypse primarily follows Kageyama. Kageyama is part of Kamiura's gang. Kamiura defeats his foes with his ruthless skills, but he does not harm civilians, which makes him very popular; Kamiura also happens to be a vampire. When he is killed, Kamiura passes the torch to Kageyama. Kageyama, unaware of his new blood, finds himself lusting for blood. In turn, he finds himself creating an army of yakuza vampires; I mean, they're really yakuza vampires. So, Kageyama sets out to exact his revenge. The story becomes a bit more muddled towards the end. This is because of some very strange additions to the story. There are some 'eccentric' characters that appear and some shifts in character that start to rattle the foundation of the film. The ending is not bad, but it also really wasn't satisfying.

Yakuza Apocalypse is an entertaining film. Much like Tokyo Tribe, it is a very strange and absurd film, but it is entertaining. Although the premise was always peculiar, it actually starts off unusually grounded. The introduction is a bit slow, but it eventually starts to use its momentum. When it gets going, it really gets going. The film quickly spirals into this quirky tailspin, hitting you with oddball characters and quirky humor. For those who have never experienced a Takashi Miike film, this might be too strange – but, it's really barely scratching the surface. Anyway, aside from its quirky qualities, the film also offers some great action sequences. You can thank Kageyama and Ryoken (Yayan Ruhian) for the great action. There are a few issues with the pacing and some bloating, but it's generally a tight package. I also wanted more development for a certain relationship, but I digress.


The acting was good, too. Hayato Ichihara was very good as the leading man; he fit the character very well. The supporting cast also offer some strong performances, even in some of the quirky roles. The film is shot very well, capturing the environment with finesse. I liked the setting, too, especially towards the end. The use of music was also excellent. The music added a pinch of personality to each scene, hopping from several genres to create something intruging. The film is directed by Takashi Miike and written by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi. The direction is as daring and creative as ever, creating something stylish and absurd without compromise. The writing could use some fine-tuning, especially to cut out some of the fat; I think I blame the writing for the ending, too.

Overall, Yakuza Apocalypse is a great film. It's an entertaining experience, offering something very creative and engaging. There's plenty of fluid action, blood and gore, and oddball humor. There are some issues here and there, like the pacing and ending, but it is still an entertaining film. For fans of Takashi Miike, you'll find yourself with something quirky and interesting; for new moviegoers, get ready to experience something out of this world.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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