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.
Directed by Takashi Miike
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Opens October 9, Village East Cinema
Available on demand
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 6, 2015