YAKUZA APOCALYPSE (2015) Reviews and overview

 

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Yakuza Apocalypse – 極道大戦争 (Gokudō Daisensō) is a 2015 Japanese action yakuza vampire film directed by Takashi Miike (Gozu; Audition; Ichi the Killer) from a screenplay by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi (Arcana; Samurai Cat). The movie stars Hayato Ichihara, Yayan Ruhian and Riko Narumi.

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Plot:

In the ruthless underground world of the yakuza, no one is more legendary than boss Kamiura. Rumored to be invincible, the truth is he is a vampire. Among Kamiura’s gang is Kageyama, his most loyal underling. However, the others in the gang view Kageyama with disdain and ridicule him for his inability to get tattooed due to sensitive skin.

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One day, assassins aware of Kamiura’s secret arrive from abroad and deliver him an ultimatum: return to the international syndicate he left years ago, or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle with anime-otaku martial-arts expert Kyoken, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura bites Kageyama, passing on his vampire powers to the unsuspecting yakuza.

As he begins to awaken to his newfound abilities, Kageyama’s desire to avenge the murder of boss Kamiura sets him on a course for a violent confrontation with Kaeru-kun, the foreign syndicate’s mysterious and seemingly unstoppable leader…

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Reviews:

“It is extremely mad, long and often tiresome. Yet it is acted with eerie and absolute conviction, and has an interestingly surreal quality; Miike has a claim to be one of cinema’s genuine surrealists.” The Guardian

“As a plotter of chaos, this Japanese filmmaker is a past master, canny enough to make you forget the lack of connections between set pieces (or that most of the action seems to transpire on a single street). And there’s a certain humor to the clash between the vagaries of vampirism.” The New York Times

“The film is a tooth-rotting, mind-scrambling aspartame rush of nonsense, but its brilliance stems from the director’s flat refusal to distinguish between the sublime and the ridiculous. The martial arts battles are played for laughs, but the combat is shot from an over-the-shoulder angle that displays Ichihara and Ruhian’s whip-crack athleticism to its fullest advantage.” The Telegraph

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“It’s almost two hours long, but it doesn’t feel that long by the time it ends with a comically punishing fist fight … There are moments when the film feels like a runaway train fueled by sheer chutzpah…” RogerEbert.com

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Release:

Yakuza Apocalypse was released on June 20, 2015.

Cast and characters:

Hayato Ichihara as Akira Kageyama
Yayan Ruhian as Kyoken (狂犬) / Mad Dog
Riko Narumi as Kyōko Anan
Lily Franky as Genyō Kamiura
Reiko Takashima

Watch the trailer on YouTube

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