30 April 2016



Holy Mary Mother of God. This film is demented. Demented and utterly chaotic. By the time I'd finished watching it, I felt like I'd taken a course of hallucinogenic drugs. Honest to God. Drugs. That's not to say that it's not good or anything. Far from it. It's just so crazy. It's a wild ride from the cinematic king of wild rides, controversial movie director Takashi Miike. And if you want to watch it, you'd sure as hell better strap yourself in, baby...!

Here's what YAKUZA APOCALYPSE put me in mind of. It's like the guy took a giant mixing-pot and chucked a load of stuff in, then stirred it all up together good-style and premiered it at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The reviews were mostly positive, with ROTTEN TOMATOES even stating that: 'YAKUZA APOCALYPSE lives up to the oddball premise of its title with a cinematic whirlwind that represents director Takashi Miike at his most delightfully unhinged.' Yep. Unhinged is the word I'd use all right...!

The movie is billed as a 'yakuza action adventure fantasy martial arts vampire film,' which is how I came up with the notion of the big old cooking pot. There's everything in there but the kitchen sink itself. The plot is as follows, that's if I can manage to condense such a bizarre and fantastical sequence of events into a manageable dollop of readable prose for my movie homies...!

A fine, upstanding chap called Kageyama is the main character. He's an extremely handsome, sharply-suited young Yakuza. I love Yakuza films. I love the Yakuza. They're so tough that they make the Italian-American Mafia look like the Teletubbies, seriously. I hope I don't get 'whacked' by the Italian-American Mafia for saying that. I'm too young to swim with the fishes or wear a concrete overcoat...!

Kageyama is tough all right. Well, most of him is tough. Let me explain. His skin is too sensitive to be able to support his gang's signature tattoo. He gets a lot of stick for this from his fellow Yakuza. They think he's a proper Walter Softy, which is jolly unfair as he's as tough as the rest of 'em any day of the week. It's just his delicate ickle epidermis that's all girly-smooth and sissy-soft...!

However, when their beloved gang boss Kamiura gets offed by a rival gang, it's Kageyama to whom he passes on his vampire powers (yep, he's a vampire!), and it's also the Sharp-Dressed-Man with the sensitive skin whom he charges with the great responsibility of avenging his death. Now who's laughing, eh...? Well, not Kageyama, not really. He's more the strong silent type than the laughing type...

Imbued with supernatural powers and a raging desire to feast on human blood, oh, and with a kickass tattoo now magically covering his muscular back, Kageyama sets out (I think!) to bring down his enemies and those of Kamiura. When you put it like that, the plot sounds quite plausible, doesn't it? No nice neat synopsis could really do justice, however, to the surreal events that take place in a confusing maze of Japanese back-alleys and public houses and the bizarre cast of characters taking part in the action.

If you've ever had a burning desire to see someone in a giant furry green frog suit riding a bicycle, now's your chance. Ditto a man in just the head of the frog suit performing a complicated series of martial arts moves against his opponent. Ditto once more the oddest knitting class you'll ever see in your whole entire life, a man who gets his head twisted right off and a girl with bandages over her eyes whose purpose we never really discover. The girl's purpose, by the way, not the bandages'...!

Anyway, ditto again a strange garden in which civilians (ie, non-Yakuza!) will grow out of the soil if you 'water' them carefully with milk and, ditto again, a townful of civilians turning overnight into Yakuza vampires with deliciously zombie-esque tendencies to chow down on passing human flesh and travel in packs, unlike their more solitary vampire counterparts.

YAKUZA APOCALYPSE is a whopping two hours long and, if your attention strays for a minute and you think you've lost the plot, don't panic. You're guaranteed to lose the plot about five minutes into the movie anyway, but the film is so wildly entertaining that it doesn't really matter. Just have fun and enjoy the crazy rollercoaster ride.

Oh, and when the film comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 2nd 2016 courtesy of MANGA ENTERTAINMENT, buy it. It's incredibly violent and it will totally take your mind off your crappy life. Well, it worked for me...!


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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