|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This has just been released in the UK as a double pack with part 1, and
having just enjoyed most of the MPD Psycho TV series, I thought I'd try
my luck with this one. I'll declare an interest here. I own most of
Takashi Miike's subbed films on DVD or VHS, and I've seen a few others
that I've sold on. So I'm used to his straightforward yakuza movies as
well as the spacecase bloodbaths.
This one is pretty tame by comparison with the high speed black comedy stuff like Rekka, Fudoh, DOA 1, and Agitator, but it compares quite favourably with Kikoku(Yakuza Demon) and Shinjuku Triad Society. No fancy camera-work, no vaginal dartguns, no thermonuclear souls. Fans of the extreme pyrotechnical Takashi Miike will have to make do with some heavy armour and some even heavier trash metal on the soundtrack. The story isn't anything to write home about, but the acting is first rate, and if it showed up on network TV in my country, I'd be religiously setting the recorder. It should be appearing in your rental stores in the very near future, alongside the Riki Takeuchi series "Mafia Family Yanagawa parts 1 and 2" which is a bit more bloody, and has a lot more gurning, snarling, smoking, and shouting. Both mini-series are worth the rental.
Masterpiece? Definitely not. Enjoyable gangster pulp? Pass the popcorn.
Note for the easily irritated: The first chapter on part two overlaps the ending of part one by a good ten minutes on my clock. I can understand that as a memory refresher if it's going out in weekly instalments on network TV, but I think it's kinda lazy on the part of Film 2000 to leave the duplicate scenes on part two for the R2 DVD release.
When the mobster Iwaida Nishikawi is executed by the hit man Takeshi,
his family chases the killer. Takeshi's brothers Takashi and Hideshi
Miwa try to find Takeshi, who is hidden with the nurse Rie Ishibashi,
to protect him and Hideshi discovers that Takeshi was secretly sent by
their Yakuza boss to eliminate Iwaida. Meanwhile, the mobster Kenmoshi
abducts Takashi's wife Mariko and rapes her, trying to force Takashi to
deliver his brother to him.
"Family" is a reasonable movie of Yakuza war directed by Takashi Miike. However, the screenplay is very confused and there is no conclusion of the story that ends with Hideshi seeking his brother Takeshi. There are also flashbacks of the Miwa family and I am not sure whether this film is a sequel with a sequence not released in Brazil. The acting is excellent and the violent scenes are very well choreographed in unusual angles. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "Cena Mafiosa" ("Mobster Scene")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Originally, this is one movie with a length of approximatively two
hours. For an unknown reason, the movie was though cut into two pieces,
at least for the North American release. Both movies have a running
time for about eighty minutes but this is part of a fake. The first
part finishes with Hideshi driving away to search his brother. The
second part though starts with the last fifteen minutes or so of the
first movie and eventually has only a length of one hour. You see once
again how the kidnapping, rape and liberation scenes.
I will try my best to help you to understand this flick and its story.
Hideshi Miwa is the most powerful Yakuza member of the three brothers. He has a wife and daughter that plays piano. His brother Takashi also has a wife that gets kidnapped. The drunk father of the two brothers gets killed by a gang in the beginning of the movie. The third brother is Takeshi, a hit man that kills Iwaida Nishikawi. Iwaida is the man that rapes the mother of the three brothers that suffers thirty years later from dementia. Iwaida turns out to be the father of Takeshi. As strange as it seams, his raping victim and Iwaida himself later fell secretly in love. Iwaida was the boss of a Yakuza clan with a lower number and the loyal Kenmoshi tries now to hunt the hit man Takeshi and the prostitute Rie Ishibashi who accidentally witnessed the murder after she had sex disguised as a nurse with a smoking man on the roof of the building.
Iwaida had to die because he knew too many secrets about the past of the Yakuza boss number one who hired Takeshi. The second person who knew about those secrets is his lover, the mother of the three Miwa brothers, that gets isolated in a nursing home as she suffers from dementia and ultimately commits suicide. The third person who knows about the secrets of the old number one is completely loyal. He only tells about the secrets after several torture sessions. It's only when Takeshi realizes that he was sent to kill his own father without knowing it and that this move started an internal Yakuza war, that he questions the godfather. His brother Hideshi let the loyal servant of the godfather torture with the help of a selfish female Yakuza boss. She tries to trick the other bosses to climb up the latter of power.
The female Yakuza and two of the Miwa brothers set a trap for the godfather in Manila. But number one gets to know about the plans (probably with some help of the female Yakuza boss that is with him) and chases Hideshi and Takeshi with a group of mercenaries and a helicopter.
The final scene where Hideshi and Takeshi seem to have survived and when Hideshi fires six shots leads to four possibilities.
First: Hideshi and Takeshi really survived and killed all of the mercenaries as well as the people in the helicopter and shot the Godfather.
Second: Hideshi and Takeshi survived and killed not only the Godfather but also the treacherous female Yakuza boss and Hideshi becomes the new number one.
Third: This scene is only fictional as the two brothers could not have survived against all of those mercenaries. The Godfather survived and the female Yakuza boss is the new number two.
Fourth: Hideshi and Takeshi died but the Godfather gets gunned by the female Yakuza boss. She becomes number one.
Choose your camp.
Now, let's talk about the movie itself and my rating.
First of all, this cut to pieces formula is quite unique for the gangster movie genre. This flick is a fast paced rocket ride with and requests multiple viewings, a lot of concentration and loads of patience. Especially as the movie is only available in Japanese with more or less well done English subtitles.
Second, the story itself is quite interesting, diversified and twisted and keeps the tension high.
Third, Takashi Miike experiments with digital video and digital editing techniques. This can include superimpositions, various forms of distortions and noises and blue screen shots. Those elements give the movie sometimes a surreal touch, sometimes an old school touch and sometimes a very technically orientated and modern touch. The camera positions and screen formats can abruptly change.
Fourth, the movie uses music as a stylistic element to fit or even contrast the events. We have some folk music, some soft piano tracks and a lot of music by a Japanese band called "Monkey Pirates". I liked those unusual experiments that made this film even more unique.
Fifth, I really liked the acting and the strong diversity of mad characters. We truly get delivered every character one can imagine to be put into two hours: a drunk and desperate coward, a stupid and joking police officer, an old and desperate woman suffering from amnesia, a brutal and pitiless pervert, a severe domina, a joyful and smart young daughter, a two-faced treacherous stepmother, a smart male secretary and more. Now, I have only talked about some of the more secondary roles, just imagine the diversity of the interesting main characters.
In the end, there are many reasons to consider Family as a unique, intriguing and diversified movie that will grow on you if you let it in. It's surely not a mainstream movie and not easy to digest but that has not often been the case of any movie made by Takashi Miike. It's not one of his masterpieces but one of his greater movies. If you are new to the world of Takashi Miike or Asian gangster movies, I would though suggest you to check out his classics first such as "Audition".
Great movie from Takashi Miike, its a standard take on Yakuza movies
and is very well made.
Miike tries a new media and experiments with many techniques he hasn't used before, i found it very entertaining to see him using new things that he hasn't used before. Great acting and is another great Yakuza film from the great Takashi Miike.
This isn't as violent as some of his other films, although being a Yakuza film it definitely has its share.
Enjoy this film!!!! Miike fans and others who haven't seen many of miikes movies will all find this movie entertaining, far from his best work, but still a very solid movie.
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