Fudoh (1996)

Directed by
Hilariously transgressive
Reviewed by Simon on 2002-03-17

A Takashi Miike is always worth looking out for, and this one was highly anticipated. It's one of his earlier Yakuza movies, but still very Miike in approach - i.e. it casts genre conventions and good taste aside whilst cackling manically

Riki Fudoh's early thoughts are very much shaped by the sight of his father decapitating his older brother with a sword, which he witnessed when he was 5 or 6 years old. The reason his father did this was to appease the Yakuza heads for some transgression the brother had made. Riki decides that these old men who are running the Yakuza have got to go, that their standards & system are out of date. By the time he gets into high school, he has already assembled his own gang of "kiddie killers" and together they take on the Yakuza old-guard.

There's probably a message in there somewhat parallel to Battle Royale's generation gap metaphors, but mostly it's just an excuse for gratuitous sex and violence and filming scenes that no other director on the planet would even think of. From 6 year olds learning to use hand guns to a schoolgirl assassin who works as a stripper at night and has the most unique weapon I can recall seeing, to... other strange and wonderful things.

It's not a complicated story, but Miike again manages to cram in a large number of memorable scenes, and it's all quite stylishly filmed for a presumably low budget/short production. Not quite as wild a ride as DEAD OR ALIVE or as transgressive as Visitor Q, Fudoh is never-the-less a worthy watch.