Country: Japan
Year: 1997
Runtime: 102 mins
Language: Japanese (subtitled)
Distributor Eastern Eye
Director: Takashi MIIKE
Venue: OTHER Cinema ****
Date: Fri 30 Jan
Time: 10.00PM

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.

"Packed to the brim with delightful, funny, cruel, explicit and inventive details, Full Metal Yakuza is a grandiose retelling of Paul Verhoeven's Robocop, courtesy of one of the most exciting directors to come out of Japan in the last fifteen years."  Midnight Eye

It's the perfect material to become a cult classic




**** Also being screened at the Curzon SOHO in our All-Nighter Programme "sushi royale"