FULL METAL YAKUZA
(Full Metal Gokudo)
Full Metal Yakuza is one of Takashi Miikes earlier films that are now seeing the light of day. Full Metal Yakuza is a bizarre combination of RoboCop (1987) and a Yakuza film (a genre where Takashi Miike has been amazingly prolific). Clearly, Miike is far more interested in making a Yakuza film and conducting a characteristically gory bloodbath than he is in the science-fictional elements of the story. Unlike RoboCop, Miike appears not at all interested in the technological or sociological side of the film. This side of things is sketched in minimalist terms, not too different from a childrens cartoon superhero the scientist played by Tomorowo Taguchi, for example, is clearly one of dubious sanity and dresses in black vinyl bodysuit more for the effect it produces than for scientific reasons. Most of the action is of the mundane sword-wielding variety, rather than anything in the way of superheroics.
It is the Yakuza genre that Takashi Miike is clearly much more at home in indeed, Full Metal Yakuza could have been rewritten as a wholly mundane sword-wielding avenger story without too much effort. It is during these parts that Takashi Miike has the most fun. For a time, Miike toys with giving us a soul of the Yakuza or cyborg story but then heads off and allows it to turn into an entertainingly ultra-violent comic-book of a film with Tsuyoshi Ujikis hero wading into action waving a samurai sword and despatching villainy en masse. While Full Metal Yakuza is not as ultra-violent as Takashi Miikes later masterpiece Ichi the Killer, there are plenty of scenes of victims being decapitated, having arms hacked off, people being sprayed with high-pressure arterial jets from slit throats, bodies being severed at the waist, even a scene where a decapitated head is kicked halfway across the city. Nor is there much of the casual perversity that there is in later Takashi Miike films, although there is one nasty sequence where a woman is bound, ball-gagged and chained up, gang-raped, then bites her own tongue out amid much gore, only for the raping Yakuza to keep on fucking the corpse. Full Metal Yakuza is not major Takashi Miike material but is still an item that delivers on what one has come to expect of the director.
Takashi Miikes other genre films are: the teen film Andromedia (1998) about a schoolgirl resurrected as a computer program; The Bird People in China (1998) about the discovery of a lost culture; the torture and sadism film Audition (1999); the Yakuza film Dead or Alive (1999), which comes with a gonzo sf ending; the surreal Dead or Alive 2 Birds (2000); the six-hour tv mini-series MPD Psycho (2000) about a split-personalitied cop tracking a serial killer; the surreal black comedy The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001); Ichi the Killer (2001), a Yakuza film with some extreme torture scenes; the controversial taboo-defying Visitor Q (2001) about a mysterious visitor; the Cyberpunk future-set Dead or Alive: Final (2002); the surreal Yakuza film Gozu (2003); One Missed Call (2003) about ghostly cellphone calls; the ultra-violent Izo (2004) about a cursed, immortal samurai; an episode of the horror anthology Three ... Extremes (2004); the superhero film Zebraman (2004); the fairytale Demon Pond (2005); the supernatural fantasy epic The Great Yokai War (2005); Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (2006), a prison murder mystery with SF elements; the SF film Gods Puzzle (2008); YatterMan (2009), a gonzo live-action remake of a superpowered anime tv series; Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (2010); Lesson of the Evil (2012) about a murderous high school teacher; As the Gods Will (2014) with high school students being slaughtered by a doll; Over Your Dead Body (2014) wherein the roles in a ghost story play come to replay themselves in the lives of the actors; the gonzo horror film Yakuza Apocalypse (2015); Terra Formars (2016) about giant mutated cockroaches on Mars; Blade of the Immortal (2017) about an immortal samurai; and JoJos Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable Chapter 1 (2017).
Trailer here (Japanese language only no subs):-