29 January 2017



This is a rather spectacularly violent Japanese film, and I've certainly seen my share of violent Japanese films. The weird thing is, however, that it's not the Yakuza or other criminals perpetrating said violence, but a couple of little squirts of schoolboys who should have been apprehended and stuck in Juvy before their whole crime spree had time to get fully underway. You're probably completely lost by now, haha, so let me start at the place at which I normally prefer to commence... the beginning...

The thing is this. Taira and Shoto Ashihara are two teenage boys living by themselves in the little Japanese seaside town of Mitsuhama. Their parents are no longer around. There's an old man called Kazuo, who lives and works locally, who throws the occasional paternal eye over the lads, but I think you'll agree that there's no substitute for close parental supervision, something the two brothers are desperately lacking.

Shoto, the younger brother, seems to be a nice, normal enough young fellow. All he wants to do on his spring break is to hang out with his friends and go skateboarding. Taira, however, is a completely different kettle of fish. On the face of it, he seems to be a total head-case. A nutter. A wack-job or whatever way you care to put it. He has a most unusual and anti-social way of expressing his feelings. You want to hear about it? 'Course you do. Read on, Macduff...!

Taira likes to creep up on random strangers on the street and beat the living shit out of them. It's never explained why he does this, but it doesn't take a Freud to work out that it's his way of reacting to his family situation and the loss/lack of his parents, both their presence and their love. Some kids self-harm with knives or scissors, others severely regulate their intake of food, and maybe some kids act out violently, as Taira is doing.

He's got no fear, this crazy kid. He takes on bigger men than himself, or small groups of men, or obvious criminals to whom ordinary people would give a wide berth. He doesn't even seem to mind being hit back, in fact, he positively appears to relish it. A psychologist might say that Taira only feels alive when he's hitting or being hit in return. Certainly he seems to live for fighting.

Along the way, Taira attracts a hanger-on, top-knotted schoolboy Yuya who tells his idol Taira that he's always wanted to 'hit a girl, real hard.' What a winner, eh? Obviously one of life's high achievers.

During a crime-spree filmed by himself and others, Yuya gets his wish and social media is suddenly hopping with videos of Taira and Yuya running amok in a crowded mall. Escaping in a stolen car with a hostage, the beautiful hostess (prostitute?) Nana, the two thugs haven't a prayer. Or have they...?

Violence is despicable no matter who's doing it to whom, but at least Taira only picks on men, who actually have a chance of defending themselves. Yuya, however, is a cowardly little brat whose assaults on middle-aged women and innocent schoolgirls are, quite frankly, the lowest of the low.

Someone needs to haul that kid's scrawny ass to Juvy, as I said at the outset, where kids bigger and tougher than himself will slap the nonsense out of him. How will he fare with hostess Nana, who surely will not be happy about being shoved in the trunk of a car by the odious little squirt? We'll see, and in the meantime poor little Shoto is worried sick about his troubled older brother and sets out to find him, but will it be already too late...?

This disturbing film is spot-on and up-to-the-minute in the way it portrays violence as the newest form of entertainment on social media. It also succeeds in the way it shows that people witnessing a crime spree or criminal act taking place before their very eyes are just as likely to start filming it and uploading it to Facebook or Twitter as they are to attempt to intervene. Like it or hate it, it's the age we live in, folks.

Described as 'the most extreme 108 minutes in Japanese cinema history,' DESTRUCTION
BABIES will be in selected UK cinemas from February 3rd, 2017. If you miss it there, make sure you grab a copy when it comes out on home entertainment release courtesy of the excellent THIRD WINDOW FILMS, who've brought us some marvellous stuff in the past.

It's not a feel-good film by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it's an important one. It captures the angst of the upcoming teenage generation to perfection and all the social media references are bang on the money. It's a film for the modern generation, of which we're all a part. Let's not get left behind...


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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