Directed by Takashi Miike
Akira (Hayato Ichihara) admires Genyo Kamiura, the most powerful yakuza. Genyo Kamiura has been targeted numerous times, but he has never been killed. He is called the invincible person. Because of Genyo Kamiura, Akira enters the world of the yakuza. His yakuza colleagues treat him like an idiot, and Akira can't even get tattoos because of his sensitive skin. An assassin is sent to take out Genyo Kamiura. The killers know that Genyo Kamiura is a vampire. Thus begins the apocalypse.
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★★★★ review by Mr. DuLac on Letterboxd
I am Yakuza!
Love him or hate him, you know when you see a Takashi Miike film you won't soon forget it. Although his more bizarre films get all the attention he's proven to be a master film maker in various genres, but admittedly seems to revel in batshit craziness.
Considering that the film is about a Yakuza boss that is more then he seems, the beginning of the film is surprisingly straightforward, no worries though, Miike still brings the insanity, he just eases you into it... at first anyways. Soon enough there's people with melting brains, a martial artist frog and a knitting club/vampire buffet.
For a Yakuza that doesn't have any tattoos because his skin is too sensitive, Hayato Ichihara really comes off like a badass in this. Of course he doesn't start off as a baddass, but if you've seen one action/ fantasy/Yakuza/vampire/martial-arts film, you've seen them all and you'll know where this is headed.
★★★★ review by Willow Catelyn on Letterboxd
"Yazuka Apocalypse begins as an analysis of masculinity and how that is intertwined with the nature of the Yakuza. There are specific examples of the absurdity of masculinity as gatekeeping: Drinking blood in front of your overlord, punching each other squarely in the face until another man falls, having your foot stomped and offering the other foot for the same punishment. It's all to prove oneself to some masculine superior in the yakuza- in this case, vampire lord Genyo Kamiura. For our lead character Kageyama the yakuza offers him a role he can fit into, and a fantasy of what he could become. It might even be like the movies, but that all unravels when he finds out his superior is a vampire, and turns him into one as well, making him the new central figure of masculine power. In a later scene Kagayama uses his powers on an otherwise emasculated child who weeps and sobs at not being strong enough, but then after Kageyama turns him into a vampire the child finds himself with his newfound strength. All of these ideas on what it means to be a man are taken to their logical extreme in the black comedy Ichi the Killer, but they are brought back here to round out some of Miike's ideas on the absurdity of the Yakuza."
Read the entire review over at Curtsies and Hand Grenades
★★★★ review by Sean Gilman on Letterboxd
Stay foolish. Stay foolish forever.
Of the more than 40 films he’s directed this century, I’ve only seen a handful, but Yakuza Apocalypse is firmly in the tradition of earlier films like Sukiyaki Western Django, 13 Assassins and his remake of the Maskai Kobayashi classic Harakiri in their critique of the psychotic masculinity that underlies the ideology of Japanese action narratives. Of course, critiquing the samurai code has been an essential part of the samurai/yakuza genres in cinema since at least the end of World War II. But Kobayashi, Kihachi Okamoto and Akira Kurosawa, as far as I know at least, never made a film about gangster vampires fighting demons in plushy cosplay frog outfits.
More over at Seattle Screen Scene.
★★★★½ review by TannyRT on Letterboxd
Still a fun ride. I want Miike to direct the sequel to Shin Godzilla. Anno made Godzilla serious again. But that ending promises some potentially batshit stuff that I honestly can't see being handled in the manner that Anno handled Shin Godzilla. Miike would do the material justice, I think. We got our great return to a meaningful Godzilla, now it's time to do a crazy one. And Yakuza Apocalypse just shows that Miike still has it in that department. This is probably his best movie of this type since Zebraman. Maybe even Ichi the Killer. It's got blood, pus, kappas, frog men, weebs, knitting circles, naked butts, and vampirism. So it's got pretty much everything you want in a movie. So give this a watch if you haven't already. I highly recommend it, especially if you love anything I just listed.
★★★★ review by Gustaf Ottosson on Letterboxd
Nr 127 on All Films I Saw 2015 (Ranked)
Part of Stockholm Film Festival 2015
Takashi Miike's outrageous Yakuza Apocalypse was the final film of this Saturdays movie marathon at the Stockholm Film Festival. Even after having finished 1 liter vodka, 10 beers and therefore blessed with double vision this film was entertaining all the way through. Vampires, Yakuza's, frogmen and well choreographed fights kept me awake and interested. The craziness of Mike's Yakuza opus created a hailstorm of laughter in the cinema and people left in high spirits.
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