Yakuza Apocalypse

Yakuza Apocalypse ★★★★

#36 in my Top 50 for 2015: medium.com/@rabbitroom/top-50-for-2015-part-2-40-31-aa7cbb6a4b44#.n0se8ku1c

After a tear of international cult hits in the late 90s and early 2000s, the stream of U.S. releases of films by Takashi Miike slowed considerably. So did his pace of filmmaking: after making over 50 films between his first big breakthrough in the States with SHINJUKU TRIAD SOCIETY in 1995 and THE GREAT YOKAI WAR in 2005, Miike slowed from 5 or more films a year to a more reasonable (but still mind-boggling) 2 or 3 over the last few years. The content and production value of his films also changed considerably, leading some fans to speculate on whether more traditional films like 13 ASSASSINS and HARA-KIRI signaled a transition from Miike’s proclivity for weird spectacle into more respectable work-for-hire.

Whether that was the case or not, YAKUZA APOCALYPSE is a full-force return to the batshit insanity that made Miike’s reputation in the first place. It’s relentlessly absurd, packed with bizarre images and ideas and awesome fights (Yayan Ruhian from THE RAID films is put to good use here), including several between various yakuza vampires and a seemingly unbeatable guy in a fuzzy, bright green full-body frog suit. Like Miike’s DEAD OR ALIVE, YAKUZA APOCALYPSE builds to an impossibly weird finale, this time ending on a jaw-dropping middle finger punchline. It’s exciting to know that nearly 100 films into his career, Miike is still capable of making something this weird and unpredictable.