TIFF 2015: Yakuza Apocalypse

Takashi Miike gets foolish in the action-comedy Yakuza Apocalypse. When vampire Yakuza boss Kamiura (Lily Franky) is taken out by an unusual syndicate, his young protegé Kagayama (Hayato Ichihara) inherits his boss’ vampire powers. Creating a gang of vampire Yakuza out of the local citizens, Kagayama prepares to battle the evil syndicate, which includes a gunslinger in seventeenth-century Spanish garb, a Kappa Goblin, an ultraviolent anime geek (The Raid‘s Yayan Ruhian), and a deadly martial artist in a frog costume.

Best known for films such as Ichi the Killer and 13 Assassins, Takashi Miike adopts the mantra of “stay foolish” for his latest film Yakuza Apocalypse. With a very absurd premise involving vampires, beaked turtle men, and a Yakuza knitting circle, this is not really a film that is meant to be watched for its plot. Featuring both extremely gory violence and a goofy comedic vibe, Yakuza Apocalypse is a film that it quite entertaining to watch.

Of course, Yakuza Apocalypse is not a perfect film and there are some moments around the middle, where the plot is progressing quite slowly, despite the use of comedic visual gags, such as melting brains or an explanation of the nature of Yakuza vampires. Of all the crazy villains that appear in Yakuza Apocalypse, the most absurd and memorable is the giant frog with impeccable martial arts skills. Even though he’s a villain, it is hard not to cheer for this ass-kicking amphibian. While Yakuza Apocalypse does end right as things are starting to get good, it is still a quite fun piece of absurdity.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).