After a few years off from perpetually trying to top his disgustingly entertaining extremist ways, director Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi The Killer) is back doing what he does best. Yakuza Apocalypse is the official title of his latest cinematic endeavour, but the more direct “WTF” would have sufficed. It’s an absolutely insane effort from a filmmaker used to that descriptor, serving up everything from yakuza and vampires to knitting circles and cuddly mascots (don’t worry, in Miike’s hands the friendliest elements become the most absurd).
The film is nearly impossible to describe in a plot summary and almost isn’t worth the effort. Essentially, there’s a yakuza who discovers he’s a vampire, a Django-esque fighting priest, an anime-loving fighting machine, and a variety of other equally eccentric characters tangled up in a plot that makes little sense. Of course, that hardly matters. Yakuza Apocalypse is a film more about celebrating excess than telling a story or communicating a message.
And oh what glorious excess there is. Gushing blood, stylishly choreographed carnage, absurdist humour, bizarre prosthetic makeup creations, hyper violent children, if Miike’s done it before it’s sandwiched into Yakuza Apocalypse somewhere. Sure, the movie won’t win the cult director many new fans and often revels too deeply in its excesses to be as fun to watch as it must have been to make. Yet, Miike hasn’t delivered this sort of insanity in far too long and no other filmmaker has dared to take his place. So, it’s nice to have the nutty guy back and even if his approximately 98th film isn’t his best, it’s at least better than literally 70 or 80 of his directorial efforts. That’s certainly something.
SEP 18, 11:59pm @ Ryerson
SEP 19, 3:00pm @ Scotiabank 2