Hagane Kensuke has one simple dream, and that is to become Gokudo
of the local crime family ‘Misaturigo’. Tousa the brother of the chief
recognises a passion in Hagane and gives him his chance to become Yakuza. Tousa
however is given a seven-year sentence for murder and Hagane simply fails to bloom
without him. It soon becomes apparent that Hagane is more than a liability as
a gangster and eventually, upon Tousas’ release the pair are gunned down.
As Hagane regains consciousness he realises something is amiss
and discovers that at the hands of a crazy scientist he has been transformed into
an all singing all dancing full metal Gokudo.
A crazy combination of metal and body parts taken from his hero, Hakane has one
thing on his mind. Revenge!
Full Metal Yakuza is an insightful parody of the 80s classic
Robocop. Like all good parodies it also pays homage to its source. Filtered through
Japanese sensibilities, the premise of Verhoeven's original is applied to the
yakuza genre and given a strong psycho-sexual undercurrent. In addition,
chanbara swordplay (in expertly directed action sequences) replaces gunfire and
situational comedy replaces Robocop's more dark and serious overtones.
Because of the comedy, it is certainly silly in places. However,
this film is simply too good to be dismissed as silly. More likely, the silliness
is intentional. On the one hand it emphasises the artificiality of the film's
premise. Mainly, though, it results from an attempt to place that artificial premise
in a realistic environment. What Miike does is to place an element from science
fiction in a genre more commonly grounded in reality as we know it. Unlike Verhoeven's
film, Full Metal Yakuza is not set in the future, but in the contemporary Japan
of the crime film. The result is a collision between two genres - and between
artifice and realism - that makes for delightful cinema.
Takeshi has done it again, a madcap combination of brutality,
bondage, comedy and tongue torture, if you are a fan of Takeshi Miike films then
this will be right up your street.
Nowhere else in cinema will you see a man eating a bowl of nuts
and bolts with lashings of nice fresh milk, or a hardened one armed Yakuza trying
to play golf. Its scenes like this that stick in your mind long after the movie
has finished and these are the scenes you relate to your mates.