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.
A member of the Yakuza is imprisoned for violent behaviour including fighting another group of thugs. There he meets another man and the two become friends. Once released the friend is back... See full summary »
After Kunisada's Yakuza leader and father figure is brutally murdered, he and his best friend go on a two-man mission to avenge his death, killing other Yakuza leaders leading to a final confrontation by the old man's killers.Written by
Takashi Miike cut this movie to the strains of the 1971 progressive rock album "Satori" by the Flower Traveling Band, which he learned of through costars Joe Yamanaka and Yûya Uchida, who were also the band's founding members. Miike found the album to be way ahead of its time and was delighted at how well and inconspicuously it cut into a movie made 30 years later. See more »
Miike as good as he's ever been in the yakuza genre
Seemingly modeled after DEAD OR ALIVE, starting off with a stylistical hodge podge of slow-mo gunfights and paranoid posturing and sizzling in the finale with a fair share of comic-book outrageousness, Rekka succeeds as a movie not for being ultraviolent or particularly graphic (it is neither by Miike standards - although still violent enough to raise a public outcry if it was the work of a mainstream American director), not because yakuza underlings get shot full of holes or Riki Takeuchi scowls like a bulldog as he shoots rocket launchers in the middle of crowded streets (DOA homage anyone?), not for the sound and fury, but for the moments in between. In that respect, Rekka is antithetical to DOA. Whereas DOA dragged through a drab and lifeless middle act to arrive at an exciting conclusion, Rekka sustains itself through moments of quietude and intimacy. In between the outbursts of violence, Miike gives us life as lived. Takeuchi's friend giving him advice on his hair dye. The glances between Takeuchi and his Korean girlfriend. The dingy eateries, night clubs and neon-lit streets - Miike prowling Fukasaku's stampin' grounds half a century after the patriarch of the yakuza film first pictured a different kind of postwar Japan.
In the end, Rekka works so well as a movie because Miike restrains the child within him eager to shock and impress and embraces the dramatist who observes the small moments of life. The plot is mostly forgettable, something about the son of a yakuza boss going on a spree to avenge the death of his father while a gangland conspiracy festers behind and a war between the different fractions is about to break out, and Takeuchi in the leading role scowls a little too much for my liking. But overall, this is as good a yakuza flick as I've seen from Miike, violent, funny, occasionally beautiful, imaginatively conceived but hastily executed (as with most Miike films), a thoroughbred Miike flick bearing all his trademarks, one aimed at both the heart and the gut. Not a masterpiece of any kind but a worthwhile movie.
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