Categorized | Movies

Yakuza Weapon Review

Posted on 11 July 2011 by VinnieAve

This was my favorite of the films from the 2011 NYAFF. While I don’t have enough experience with gekiga (Japanese comics aimed at adult males, there are stylistic differences, the best bet is to read some, right now I’m reading A Drifting Life which is partially about the creation of Gekiga), but I am able to recognize it when I see it. Yakuza Weapon is an adaptation of the Yakuza Weapon manga by Ken Ishikawa, a protégé of Go Nagai (Mazinger Z, Devilman).

This film starts with a yakuza, Shozo Iwaki, fighting a group of American soldiers in some South American jungle(in the modern day). It’s here we learn that he is the ultimate badass mother fucker. What makes him so cool, for one he’s played by Tak Sakaguchi is a great actor in fighting scenes and for much of the film he is fighting with only punches and kicks. Also he fears nothing for he a yakuza, bullets don’t hit him and he knows it. Once all the Americans are dead, the Japanese government tells him his father is dead, been killed actually.  After this nice little prologue he returns to Japan to figure out what’s up with everything. He’s found out that a dishonorable man is taken over all the yakuza in Japan by selling hyperdrug.

The first thing he does is go back to the Iwaki family base to find out some weakling taking over in the area. After some great action, including the amazing curving dynamite, Iwaki talks to the man who is trying to take over Japan. Filled with rage he leaves and starts to hunt him down. While he is leaving he gets hit with a boat. We see that it was his girlfriend who threw it at him. She is still in love with him and wants to be married but that isn’t here main purpose in the film. She is also being chased by our villain who has had an increasingly creepy crush on her from the time she was in high school.

Iwaki and his two sidekicks go to the large building that hadn’t been there before they left to find out this is where our villain keeps his headquarters. Some more stuff happens but I don’t want to waste your time here. The first half of the film ends with a fight with our bad guy on a helicopter and Iwaki on the top of the building (now blown up). This fight ends with Iwaki losing an arm and leg and the helicopter shot out of sky. That’s how the first half of the film ends. All I will say about the second half is that Iwaki’s arm is replaced with a M61 Vulcan cannon and his leg with a rocket launcher. I don’t want to ruin the rest of the film so I will my synopsis there.

Iwake with cannon arm

 

 

This film was really fun to watch. It was often compared to Machine Girl due to similarity of concept. This film is more action packed, less perv comedy, and better action. Those things make this film a winner in my book. The film was smart to make use of its lead’s skills; they made a conscious effort to use to gun sparingly, and to fight as much as he can. This works because since he is using a M61 Vulcan cannon he can’t really run while firing, he will still use his fists even when he has a gun on his arm. Toward the end there are some scenes with him using the gun more and in these cases it just seems boring to me. There also is this subplot about hyperdrug that seemed to get dropped along the way. This makes little sense and has little effect on the story. It feels like they removed part of that story and then didn’t getit completely out.

Honestly, these things don’t detract from the film and it is still a great Japanese ultraviolent piece. Anyone who is a fan of this genre should like it, also I think that this could be an better introduction than some of the other works for people who aren’t too familiar with these films.

This film is slated for a home release sometime next year. If you get a chance to see this at a convention or film festival take it.

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