Somehow, the Title ‘Yakuza Apocalypse’ Doesn’t Begin to Cover the Madness in Takashi Miike’s Latest


Few directors are as off-the-wall gonzo as Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Audition), a reputation to which the Japanese auteur ably lives up with Yakuza Apocalypse, a film designed to mash up a glut of gangster, martial-arts, and monster-fantasy elements in the least comprehensible way possible.

Miike’s latest, a metaphorical riff on the truth that gangsters prey upon the innocent, concerns a young yakuza named Kageyama (Hayato Ichihara) who’s bitten by the decapitated head of his boss — and turned into a vampire.

That turn of events is almost as bonkers as the stream of insanity that follows, involving a young ax-wielding boy in high pants, a criminal who tilts her head so her brain-juice can ooze out of her ear, and the intermittent appearance of a kappa demon who boasts a beak, rounded fingertips, and a turtle shell on his back. As if that weren’t enough, the story eventually features a renowned terrorist dressed in a giant frog costume bashing people’s heads in with a baseball bat.

None of it makes any sense, including the participation of The Raid‘s diminutive ass-kicker Yayan Ruhian, but if you can get on its wacko wavelength, it’s a uniquely crazed, compelling midnight-movie whatsit.

Yakuza Apocalypse

Directed by Takashi Miike

Samuel Goldwyn Films

Opens October 9, Village East Cinema

Available on demand

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