Home > Film, Reviews > DVD/Blu-ray Review: Yakuza Weapon – A film By Tak Sakaguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi

DVD/Blu-ray Review: Yakuza Weapon – A film By Tak Sakaguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi

Full of exciting gory action sequences and striking visuals!

Yakuza Weapon is a recent blood drenched offering from everyone’s favourite gore flick company Sushi Typhoon (released on DVD/Blu-ray by Bounty Films and distributed in the UK by Eureka! Entertainment). Based on the manga created by Ken Ishikawa, it is written and directed by Tak Sakaguchi (Versus) and Yudai Yamaguchi (Deadball).

The film starts mid-battle and we are introduced to our ‘hero’ Shozo Iwaki (Sakaguchi) taking down the bad guys whilst not, apparently, being put off by the hail of bullets streaming his way as he says “you only get hit when you are afraid you will”, giving us an insight into his cock-sureness. Shozo left Japan four years ago due to a disagreement with his yakuza boss father. After the abovementioned battle he finds out his father has been assassinated by a rival gang and promptly returns to Japan.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

When he arrives he finds out his father’s right hand man, Kurawaki (Shingo Tsurumi) is responsible for the killing of his father and aims to rule over all the yakuza gangs. Shozo also unexpectedly gets reacquainted with his old love interest Sister Nayoko (Mei Kurokawa), whom he left behind when went to South America and she is not best pleased; a theme that is used well for comedic and narrative effect. Kurawaki and Shozo go head-to-head in a showdown that leads both men losing a few limbs. Shozo is then taken by a government agency for some ‘upgrades’ to allow him to become the ‘Weapon’ from the film’s title.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

Yakuza Weapon is proud of its Manga roots and is happy not to be confined by any kind of realism. This is a good move although not unexpected in a film where the lead character has a Gatling gun in his arm and a rocket launcher in his knee (a la Revenge Milly). This means Sakaguchi has fun with the action scenes and tries various techniques, such as slow motion and a fight in silhouette to keep things fresh, as the notion of weapons for body parts in movies is nothing new.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

The big plus is the performance of Sakaguchi as Shozo. The cocky, ass-kicker never has you rooting against him which is a danger with a character who thinks he is unstoppable before his gun arm and rocket knee! Also the sub plot concerning Shozo and best friend Tetsuo gives the film some unexpected but welcome drama, particularly in the scenes where Tetsuo deals with the grief of his sister’s death.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

The budget constraint is obvious and maybe a little more so with the Blu-ray version. But this does not take anything away from the action. The film is full of exciting gory action sequences and striking visuals (Special Molding & Make-Up supervised by makeup maestro Yoshihiro Nishimura) for instance, the killer nurse squad sent after Shozo or the naked girl who fires a machine gun from her mouth and a rocket launcher from her crotch area. On the other hand, the visuals can be a little too unrealistic. However, that said, they are in keeping with the films overall style and doesn’t detract too much.

(Courtesy of Bounty Films)

One thing which could put people off is the length of the film. It could do with losing around 20 minutes off the running time because some of the story takes a while to get where we know it is heading. When you consider it was shot in less than two weeks we can forgive some of the lesser mistakes like the lighting or choreography in some of the hand-to-hand combat scenes. To sum up, Yakuza Weapon is a high energy octane of action, gore and humour that’s well worthwhile watching!

Details:

Label: Bounty Films – Distributed by Eureka! Entertainment

Release date: 26th March 2012

Certificate: 18

Running time: 106 mins

Genre: Action/Sci-Fi

Director: Tak Sakaguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi

Stars: Tak Sakaguchi, Shingo Tsurumi, Mei Kurokawa

Review written by Dean Hilliam

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