Yakuza Apocalypse is one of those films titles that simply can’t be ignored. Like Sharknado, the title will either appeal to you, or immediately turn you off, but unlike Sharknado, the title is a little less B-Movie, and a little more ambiguous in terms of the content of the film. Well, the title appealed to me, and the promise of crazy action is always something I can get invested in. On top of that, I’ve been exposed to some really interesting foreign films recently, and they do things English Language films aren’t brave enough to do. In other words, I was quite ready for this to be a pleasant surprise.
Yakuza Apocalypse follows Kagayama, a loyal young man who is the body-guard of a Yakuza boss. When the man he’s sworn to protect is killed in a brutal attack, it’s revealed that he’s a Yakuza-vampire, and he passes on his powers to Kagayama, and he struggles to handle his new abilities whilst seeking revenge on the secret society that killed his boss.
Well, this certainly was a surprise, and it certainly was crazy, but that’s where this film departed from my expectations. The first fifteen minutes of this film are pretty solid. It shows the real life way a vampire could apply their powers in the crime world (that is a strange sentence), and shows the way real life people would react to that kind of power. Then the Yakuza boss gets killed, and his severed head comes alive and bites his bodyguard, and… well, it never really recovers.
I’m all for madness, but what doesn’t work is when it’s contrasted against very serious scenes. The tonal disparity in this film would be equal to Christopher Nolan’s Batman flashing the word “POW” on-screen every time he hit the Joker. It made for an uncomfortable viewing experience, with lots of ‘what’s happening here’ moments, but not in a good way. I even felt at times like the film had missed scenes, or wasn’t playing in order, but it hadn’t, and it was, it’s just not made in a way that makes sense as a film. The film does pick up a little when ‘the worlds number one terrorist’ turns up, but that’s only because he’s dressed as a frog mascot, something inherently funny.
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