Yakuza Weapon


Title: Yakuza Weapon
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Action, Comedy
Starring: Tak Sakaguchi, Cay Izumi (Robogeisha)
Director: Tak Sakaguchi, Yudai Yamaguchi
Language: Japanese

Terracotta East Asian Film Festival: #5


Following on that brand of action – and based on a manga, so you know this ones gonna make no sense – is a film directed and starred in by Tak Sakaguchi, swordsman and martial arts man, director of the previously reviewed 'Samurai Zombie' and star of 'Versus,' which in itself is already a stamp marking what you should expect. There isn't an awful lot of bloodshed focussing more heavily on stylised action that is only possible in cinema; any sense of plausibility goes out the window as soon as the opening shot paying tribute to Rambo involving using enemies bullet's to light the tip of his smoke whilst staring them down, gently parodying them with tongue firmly placed in cheek, and it doesn't exactly get any better from here. I could list a plethora of other manga-based action flicks that have emerged in recent years but the style has become so prevalent that I could be here all day, so the only one I'll mention is 'Yatterman.' Such is the odd brand of ridiculously over the top comical events that I have to compare it to Miike's acid-trip of a family film to get my point across.

Working as a mercenary in South America, Showo Iwaki (Sakaguchi) receives word of his fathers death back in his home country of Japan. Once exiled for his disapproval of his fathers traditional manner of doing things, he returns once more to continue his clans legacy only to discover that his death was at the hand of the ruthless businessman, Kurawaki, and once right hand man of his fathers in order to inherit the business for his own personal gains. When their first bout lands them both on the brink of death, Iwaki awakens to discover an M61 Vulcan cannon replacing his right arm and a rocket launcher embedded within his left knee, and with the support of two loyal friends and the fiancée he left behind, seeks out Kurawaki to end things once and for all. But Kurawaki has one more trick up his sleeve; Iwaki's former best friend, Tetsuo, has been coerced into joining him and stands in the way of his bloody retribution.

Much of the issues stem from the same place as the best parts; Tak himself. He was clearly the focus throughout and he still manages to portray his unique style of 'clumsily cool' that never fails to be entertaining to watch, but the script itself wasn't as strong as felt it could have been. There are certainly points which will have you in stitches, not in the least succeeding in exploiting literally every orifice of a woman by placing a weapon inside it, having a guy wield her naked body like the strangest pair of nunchucks I've ever seen, as well as taking obvious inspirations a step further. The cannon fixed to his arm as in 'Machine Girl' occasionally malfunctions, the 'Lone Wolf and Cub' fight scenes riddled with witty puns, and the elaborate plans concocted by the evil corporation (all reminiscent of a martial arts film I can't quite place) are ignored as he decides to do his own thing, but a lot of it didn't feel all that special. There were pacing issues that meant the finalé turned out to be about an hour away from the actual finalé, and the way it was directed felt a little like "Tak vs. the World." And if he sucked in it, the film would have been an actual disaster. Good job he's still awesome really...

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