7 guys from Paris' suburbs like challenges like climbing tall buildings and doing parkour - especially with cops/flics chasing them. When a kid fan urgently needs a heart the Yamakasis try to find a way.
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Gravity or Police, these guys don't believe in any law. Idolised by the youth of Paris as much as they're hated by the police, they are the Yamakasis, modern samurais. With acrobatic skillfulness and adrenaline pumping belief in their own immortality, they throw themselves out from incredible heights, and jump from roof to roof. Locked doors and "No Trespassing"-signs become irresistible challenges. But one day, whilst mimicking one of the Yamakasi's more dangerous stunts, a young fan gets injured. Only one operation can save the boy, an operation that his family can't afford.Written by
Torben Skov <email@example.com>
Often mistaken for Japanese, the word yamakasi is actually taken from the Lingala language, which is spoken in the two Congos. Ya makási can mean "strong body, strong spirit, strong person", though in French usage its meaning is closer to "high energy". See more »
(at around 1h 20 mins) You can see the boom mic as the doctor pulls away and aims the gun at everybody. See more »
Let me start this saying that I consider Luc Besson a very creative person. Probably he is not the best writer, he may not even be a good one, but he always comes up with the most original ideas in his scripts. And I admire him for that.
With that said, I must said that I had mixed feelings when I was watching "Yamakasi"; for one part, I was so amazed by the complex stunts and the beautiful action scenes shot in an old school way, everything beautifully choreographed, but, on the other hand, the dramatic scenes and the plot were so weak that I wonder how a script written by three people could be so plain and undeveloped.
The core plot is very simple, the Yamaksi are a gang of 7 guys whose love for adrenaline has taken them to create the extreme sport of climbing buildings as mountains and practically defy gravity in their acrobatic adventures; one day a kid tries to imitate them, but his heart condition makes him faint and suddenly he needs a heart transplant. The problem is, that the organ can only be get by illegal ways, so it will cost a lot of money that his family can't pay. The Yamakasi, feeling guilty, decide to steal from the rich to gather the sum needed for the transplant. they only have 6 hours to get the money and they will use all of their skills to make it.
The problem with the plot, is that it is all we get, it is just a mere excuse to show the Yamakasi skills and to make fun of the French police. I must say again that I was impressed by the amazing stunts, but I would have liked something to identify with the characters.
The script's problem is not the story, as many people believe, because I found it very original. In my opinion, the problem with the movie is that we have very few development of the 7 heroes, we barely know them so it is very hard to feel empathy towards them. The Yamakasi end up as 2-dimensional heroes with very limited motivations. It would be great if at least 10 minutes of the movie had been spent in getting to know them, but the only thing we know is their nickname and their "ability".
That would be my only complain, because it seriously hurt the film. As result of the undeveloped characters, there is very few the actors can do. Nevertheless, Maher Kamoun did a remarkable job, although it is probably because his character, Vincent, is the only one who gets a complete development; as a police officer who is a cousin of one of the Yamakasi, he has to struggle between his responsibility as officer and his responsibility with his family.
Something that is also worth noticing, is that our 7 (9 if we count Vincent and their friend Michelin) heroes show a lot of ethnic diversity that reflects the society in modern day France. To have a team of Arabs, Africans and French as heroes was something way different from what we are used to see.
In the end, "Yamakasi - Les Samouraïs des Temps Modernes" is an average but entertaining film that, while certainly could have been a lot better, at least supplies good entertainment with a big dose of adrenaline. 6/10
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