Sequel to "Tetsuo" this time has the Iron Man transforming into cyberkinetic gun when a gang of vicious skinheads kidnap his son. When the skinheads capture him, they begin to experiment on... See full summary »
In order to settle a business dispute, a mob leader murders one of his own teenage sons. The surviving son vows to avenge his brother's death, and organizes his own gang of teenage killers to destroy his father's organization.
Ambitious yakuza Kenji befriends harmonica-playing bartender Chuji, who moonlights as a part-time drug-dealer for the opposing gang. Their friendship is threatened by Kenji's plans for ... See full summary »
An entertaining film occasionally marred by anti-climatic pacing
This is a pretty entertaining Miike film which suffers mainly from an anti-climatic and slow storyline. It is still quite entertaining and contains several distinct Miike touches, but the compelling nature of the characters and their locale is somewhat hurt by the strange pacing and repetitive activity. The storyline centers around Riike and his relationship with his high-school sweetheart, Ryoko, soon after the two leave high-school. Riike is now a petty street-mobster who makes a living protecting street vendors and low-level gamblers while Ryoko works in a hair salon. The film investigates how the violent side of Riike's personality is necessary for him to maintain close relationships with his friends and girlfriend.
The movie takes place in a neighborhood of Osaka, Miike's hometown, and is shot mostly with local actors. It's interesting that most of the guys in this film are notably un-handsome, while the girls are typically attractive. The film actually comedically riffs on this a couple of times.
And the comedy here is pretty good. The movie is a weird mix of slapstick and goofy comedy, non-lethal violence and occasional tragedy -- typically eccentric Miike. No single element is too affecting and perhaps that is why the movie falls a little short. I do admire Miike's versatility and ability to play each angle against each other -- at times it is even reminiscent of Takeshi Kitano's direction. This is not a total surprise considering Kitano has appeared in at least a couple of Miike films.
The acting here is competent, but not exactly powerhouse stuff, but then again I wouldn't expect that from the material. It's an entertaining look at the lives of several mischievous teens after they've left high school and the story contains some auto-biographical elements of both the director and writer (Osaka natives). It's entertaining but the pacing holds it back occasionally. Still Miike proves himself pretty versatile and the charming jokes and random Dada-esquire vignettes won me over (the search for 67 degrees, for instance). I'll certainly be interested in checking out the other films in the same series.
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