Sunday, July 14, 2013

Review: Yakuza Weapon

Title: Gokudô heiki (Yakuza Weapon)
Based off: Gokudô heiki by Ken Ishikawa
Synopsis: Ex-yakuza Shozo Iwaki (Tak Sakaguchi) engages in a titanic battle of revenge against double-crossing Kurawaki, the man who killed his father. After a building leveling skirmish, Shozo wakes up with an M61 Vulcan cannon in place of his right arm and a rocket launcher where his left leg used to be. Shozo quickly learns to love his weaponized frame, and prepares for a bloody rematch with Kurawaki, who has some mechanical improvements of his own.
Cast: Tak Sakaguchi, Jun Murakami, Mei Kurokawa, Shingo Tsurumi

To make a really long and complicated movie would have been a stretch for Tak Sakaguchi's directorial debut if this was in fact his debut. No, Sakaguchi has directed three films before this one. When I read that he'd only had twelve days to complete the filming, I began to feel that I should have been more gentle with this review. I've enjoyed his movies in the past. Versus, Azumi 1 and 2 as well as Death Trance and Shinobi: Heart Under Blade were all movies that I liked and actually own. Sadly, Yakuza Weapon won't be joining my collection anytime soon.

I'm not really sure if it was bad acting or simply a bad premise that brought this movie down. There were several moments of sheer confusion as you watch. This is perhaps a movie for men. Shozo is the strongest fighter, but he comes off as a loud, annoying guy. The other characters don't really draw any sympathy either with the exception of one. Nayoko, Shozo's fiance by arranged marriage, comes off just as loud and brash as he does. Upon our first meeting with her, she throws a boat at Shozo.

The one character that really had my sympathy was Sumire and her part was very small. Sister of Shozo's blood brother, Tetsu, Sumire is raped and murdered in front of her brother. Later, she's turned into a naked weapon to be used by her brother against Shozo. I suppose I was merely thinking too hard about a movie that shouldn't have been taken seriously, but I wanted to slap everyone involved with the project. Not only is her rape shown briefly on screen, she's turned into an object that is flung around and placed in sexual positions. Yes, yes. She's dead at this point, but come on!

The only other female character, Nayoko, is frequently kidnapped and dressed up as a schoolgirl. Her kidnapper makes sexual advances to her as much so as having a strap on with a pulsating dildo ready for her. No, I'm not a feminist. I just didn't find anything amusing about this film as much as my friend who bought it did. I suppose the big difference is our genders. The usual bodily function jokes were also involved.

Go into this movie with no expectations. You'll get lots of Tak Sakaguchi beating people up and firing weapons. From an intellectual standpoint, you may just come out wondering whether you've gotten a bit less intelligent after sitting through it. I doubt I'll give it a second chance.

Rating: 1/5

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