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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Miike Has Done Much Better Yakuza Films, October 22, 2007
This review is from: Full Metal Yakuza (DVD)
"Full Metal Yakuza," is not one of Miike's better films. In fact, I found it to be a big disappointment. The first time I viewed it, I could not get through the film. It was only when I had nothing to do that I decided to give this film another look. The film centers on a character named Hagane (Tsuyoshi Ujiki) who looks up to his mentor the yakuza boss named Tosa (Takeshi Caesar). Tosa has been locked up in the films beginning due to a hit he made on an opposing yakuza boss and his minions. [And with a samurai sword to boot]. Hagane does have some very funny character traits, especially the way he looks up to his boss. While his boss has been locked up for the past 8 years, Hagane has been given the menial jobs of a lower yakuza. He cannot wait until the day that Tosa is released. That day finally comes--and when it does, things will not be the same for Hagane again.

Now, it is apparent when viewing this particular Miike film that he was having a bit of fun. And I will be the first to admit, that there a few scenes here and there which were funny. But on the whole, the film is not good. As Tosa is released from prison, other members of the yakuza clans get together to eliminate him. And while they succeed, Hagane is also caught up in the middle. When the viewer next sees Hagane, he has been put together as part robot and part human. Plus, he has incredible powers. Moreover, he must eat metal in order to gain his strength. Hagane discovers that he and Tosa were set up by his own clan. This angers him and he seeks revenge. Also in the middle of this all is Tosa's ex-mistress Naomi (Momoko Nishida). Something occurs to her that will put Hagane into a kill mode. [Not that he already wasn't].

I have not seen all of Miike's films, however, I found this one the weakest of any I have ever seen. I even wonder if it would garner great reviews if it was not a Miike film. The self-isolation that Hagane puts himself through is a bit corny. In fact, I found the entire film quite lame. Also, I believe that this was without a doubt the silliest ending of all of the Miike films I have seen thus far. The characters in the film probably tried to keep a straight face on this particular Miike film. I give credit to Miike for constantly striving to come up with something new all the time. For the most part, he has been successful in many of his films in pushing the envelope. However, this film does not succeed on several levels, one of which is that it is not very funny. What comedic elements are thrown into the film fall flat. And the action scenes are bit silly. Not to mention the scene involving Naomi, were not needed at all, and in fact brought the film down a notch. This is not a good film, even though Miike fans will tell you otherwise. Not recommended. Unless you are a die hard Miike fan, in which case whatever I write really wouldn't matter.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 24, 2007 4:53:07 PM PDT
Jenny says:
Hey Ernest I'm with you on this one and it's not on my top 5 list either. I did found out the reason why "Full Meta Yakuza" was sub-par. I don't know if you know this but it was made for Japan's direct-to-video market during the early Nineties, when the economic prosperity of the era seemed unchallengeable and video companies were racing to fill rental store shelves with anything they could come up with. This meant a lot of low-budget, give-the-people-what-they-want productions, which Miike churned out more than a few of. Yakuza was one of the first, and through it Miike showed he could overcome the limitations of a small budget and create an engagingly bizarre piece of work. So your not alone in feeling this way. Another great write up on your part Ernest but to bad I can't say that about this film.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2007 3:30:04 AM PDT
Hello Jenny, and thanks once again. I knew about the direct-to-video market. It was a time when Japan put out some really horrible horror films and samurai flicks too. Surprisingly though, they had some really good television shows at the same time. Also, I can understand that Miike probably had to rush things out on a shoestring budget too. Still, I like Miike's films. He is definitely one of the great directors today and I do like quite a lot of his films.
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Location: Culver City, California

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