Yakuza Apocalypse (極道大戦争), 2015


Takashi Miike just might lose his sanity in another twenty films or less. 

This creation from Miike is pretty much the most isolated and most parabolic and mystical big-budget (frog mascot) creature I’ve ever seen with my own two bulging eyes. Although Miike is known for his zany pacing and turning his team of actors into a ravenous pack of performers, whose appetite can be satiated only by the staginess and the affectation his direction gleans out of them, Yakuza Apocalypse is like a toy running on old, used batteries. Sometimes the plastic bubble-lights on the roof of the toy police car flash the perfect blue and red however at others it just dims and the toy car loses speed. 

Plus, I was unable to keep track of sides, and then suddenly there weren’t any. Things tend to appear and disappear at the flip of a coin, loyalties change at the drop of a hat, morals are overrun by treacherous and head-splitting desires and Captain (Reiko Takashima) seems brain-dead throughout, so much so that the word brainless is presented as an off-putting visual that will make the viewer think twice before he sticks that finger into that itching ear. 

The ideology of the Yakuza, its treatise of hundreds of thousands of years is both challenged and made to accept in the face of a far greater nemesis, also ancient and malevolent. With that knowledge and the screen filled with brilliant fight scenes, shootouts, a game of hard punches, and a mighty deadly bad guy in a frog mascot costume, the viewer is frustrated yet curious enough to go on. The frog fights like a boss and takes down an entire group of fangs and when faced with a worthy opponent, it takes off the over-sized costume and reveals itself. I’ll not give that part out; just that Bruce Lee came to mind. 

Yakuza Apocalypse is tender and sore yet clawing its way to the neck, it is calm yet it simmers with an otherworldly energy; the film is 125 minutes long and punctuated with so much live action Anime that Kagayama (Hayato Ichihara), the good yakuza, cannot take the trauma-inducing thunderbolts of the vacillating screenplay anymore and he fucking grows wings and flies to the heavens to fight an even bigger frog mascot costume, no matter how battle-damaged he is. 

Too long and perplexing to consider – too bewildering and remarkably sensational to miss.

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