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Full Metal Gokudo

Full Metal Yakuza

Japan 1997
produced by
Fujio Matsushima for Excellent Film, Tokuma Shoten
directed by Takashi Miike
starring Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Tomorowo Taguchi, Takeshi Caesar, Shoko Nakahara, Kazuki Kitamura, Momoko Nishida, Ren Osugi, Koji Tsukamoto, Yuichi Minato
story by Hiroki Yamaguchi, screenplay by Itaru Era, music by Koji Endo, Sound Kids

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Hagane (Tsuyoshi Ujiki) is a small fry gangster who is actually totally incompetent and much too mild-mannered for the job, but who joined the Yakuza because he admires boss Tosa (Takeshi Caesar). Then though, Tosa is sent to prison for five years, and in that time, the organisation changes ... and when Tosa is picked up by Hagane after his five year stretch, he and Hagane both run into an ambush laid by Tosa's own boss Yomo and are riddled by bullets ...

Later, Hagane awakens in the lab of otaku scientist Hiraga (Tomorowo Taguchi) and realizes that he is made almost exclusively out of metal and hardly human anymore ... and he has all kinds of superpowers. Hagane uses his superpowers to get even with all those who wronged him, andthus soon kills himself through his old gang ... but when it comes to killing big boss Yomo, Hagane is stopped by his former friend Taka, whom he could easily kill physically, but his conscience says no ...

Hagane decides to turn his back on humanity and lives in a tent next to Tosa's grave, where he one day meets Yukari (Shoko Nakahara), Tosa's ex-girlfriend, and when he consoles her, the two fall in love ...

But then, Yukari tries to kill Yomo, but his bodyguards manage to instead make her their captive, and now they want to use her to make Hagane kill Yomo's rival boss Kozoi (Ren Osugi) - which Hagane sees himself forced to do.

Meanwhile, Yomo and his men want to all rape Yukari, but she commits suicide by swallowing her tongue - which doesn't keep Yomo from fucking her anyhow.

When Hagane arrives at Yomo's place he's in a rage slaughtering everybody in sight, and it of course doesn't get any better when he finds Yukari dead ... and this time, Hagane even kills Yomo, only when it comes to Taka (who has meanwhile made an attempt at Hagane's life) he hesitates - until Taka shoots him in his only vulnerable spot, then Hagane slashes him in half using his trademark samurai sword before he too collapses ...

 

This film, a blend between a traditional yakuza flick (complete with slashings by samurai sword) and the Robocop-franchise might sound very exciting in writing ... but unfortunately the film itself is less so: The film seriously lacks decent pacing, with long deliberately slow-moving sequences and sudden outbursts of (comic book style) violence proving to be uneasy bedfellows which totally fail to outbalance each other. Also, the film often seems to be undecisive about being totally tongue-in-cheek or being serious (if incredibly cheesy) drama.

That all said, the film is not all bad, it's a fun and silly little action flick with its shortcomings but also its good moments. Just don't expect too much ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD