Yakuza Weapon (Gokudô heiki)

Japan (2011) Dirs. Tak Sakaguchi & Yûdai Yamaguchi

In a South American jungle tough as nails Yakuza fighter Shozo Iwaki (Tak Sakaguchi) is on a four year mission raising all kinds of hell when he receives word that his Yakuza boss father Kenzo (Akaji Maro) has been killed. Upon returning to Japan, Shozo learns the culprit was Kenzo’s trusted number one guy Kurawaki (Shingo Tsurumi). Shozo seeks revenge but in a shoot out with Kurawaki he loses an arm and leg (literally) while Kurawaki is also left for dead but two government secret agents intervene and have Shozo’s body rebuilt with special weapons making up his reattached limbs. With Shozo now the ultimate Yakuza and is ready to settle his score with Kurawaki who also has had a mechanical make over.

Quite often when you see or hear the phrase “From the makers of…” the suggested titles give you a fair idea of what to expect from the film you are about to watch. In this case, upon learning that this film comes from low budget Japanese company Sushi Typhoon and the names Tak Sakaguchi and Yūdai Yamaguchi – who count Versus, Mutant Girls Squad and Meatball Machine as part of their individual and collective filmographies – are involved, then no further information is required. Yakuza Weapon therefore offers no real surprises to Asian film buffs and, depending on one’s tastes, will either deliver the goods or leave you cold.

Shot in just twelve days on digital camera and with a low budget, this adaptation of the late Ken Ishikawa’s manga has a lot more to the plot than outlined above but most people will be watching for the geysers of CGI blood, scores of flying prosthetic limbs, outrageous and potentially offensive use of women and Sakaguchi’s martial arts fights. And they get that. And plenty of it too, along with the requisite silliness which pushes the boundaries of credibility to ridiculous levels. Only here would you see a guy survive stepping on a landmine without a scratch or an angry woman throw a yacht across a harbour to get her man’s attention!

Following his coup over the Iwaki Family Yakuza gang and subsequent rejections from other gangs, Kurawaki plans to create his own army of mind controlled fighters, among them Tetsu (Jun Murakami) a former sparring partner and blood brother of Shozo’s, who has gone mad and turned to drugs following the rape and death of his sister Sumire (Cay Izumi). Meanwhile Shozo’s old flame Sister Nayoko (Mei Kurokawa) is kidnapped by Kurawaki, who has had an unhealthy obsession with Nayoko since she was a schoolgirl (they had to get that fetish in here somehow) although this aspect doesn’t really add to much other than the rather striking Kurokawa (who in my opinion is too talented an actress for this kind of role) providing us with some pulchritude, who is accompanied later on by some sexy assassin nurse (another popular Japanese fetish) and the female government agent attired in a micro skirt and fishnet stockings.

And then there is Sumire. It seems Shozo and Kurawaki weren’t the only ones who benefited from a modern technological overhaul and Tetsu somehow turned his dead sister into arguably the most unique killing machine you’ve ever seen. Since the Japanese aren’t known for their political correctness it should come as no surprise where they decide to put the missile launcher on Sumire’s body!! Yup, there! Shozo is a bit luckier with a M61 Vulcan gatling gun on his right arm (similar to the “classic” Machine Girl) and a mini rocker launcher under his left knee cap! As for Kurawaki’s upgrade – well let’s say his impotence problem has been solved. If this all seems ridiculously unbelievable and totally madcap then you’ve clearly not seen a Sushi Typhoon film before. If you have this is the by the numbers OTT carnage you know and probably love.

Yakuza Weapon is not going to be for everyone’s tastes, something even the cast and crew are well aware of but it’s not something they seem overly concerned about as long as they have fun. A niche movie if there ever was one, only low budget gore fans and those with a taste for left field Japanese insanity need apply.