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Yakuza Weapon


In terms of value for your time, this ‘Weapon’ may prove lethal.

Rod Lott February 14th, 2012

Opening the disc for "Yakuza Weapon" is the trailer for Donnie Yen's "Flash Point," which looks incredible. In. Cred. Ible. Sadly, it’s nearly the high point of the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, after the feature’s Colorforms-esque closing credits.

yakuzaweapon

For the uninformed, the yakuza is the Japanese equivalent of our mafia — an underworld crime syndicate where loyalty is value No. 1. Break that, and there’s hell to pay! In this Sushi Typhoon offering from co-directors Tak Sakaguchi (“Mutant Girls Squad”) and Yûdai Yamaguchi (the similarly wacky but overlong “Battlefield Baseball”), Sakaguchi also stars as the tattooed Shozo who’s nothing if not confident when it comes to combat: "You only get hit when you're afraid of getting hit. I can scare land mines with a glare!" and, after kicking holes clean through an opponent’s head, "What a fight! And I win!"

After agents bring him news of his yakuza head father's death, the unaffected Shozo ("What a sad story. That old fart!") continues waging his one-man war. Suggestive of the manga from which it spawned, he lives in a practically cartoon world; the guy can be hit by a hurled boat and do little more than rub his shoulder.

Speaking of body parts, later sections of the film find his limbs outfitted with built-in bionic blasters that make him a literal weapon. That kind of stuff comes in handy when you’re fighting a guy who’s armed with a naked woman (see, she shoots bullets from her mouth and missiles out of her … well, yeah, that), or another enemy who has an atomic weapon embedded in his chest like Iron Man’s power pack. Other baddies appear in drag and threaten a tied-up lass with a battery-operated dildo.

For all its bam, bang and boom — and there is a ton of each — “Yakuza Weapon” plays maddeningly flat. Only when a ballet of bullets, blood (and the occasional mortar) takes place in silhouette behind various tinted screens does the film reach anything resembling inspiration. Effects trump events, and some of what we do see — interior and exterior — are inexcusably too dark.

Like most of Sushi Typhoon’s menu items (the upcoming “Karate-Robo Zaborgar” excepted), this overstuffed serving tastes too much like Three Stooges material too often and for too long. The CGI shenanigans simply get out of hand, and why rely so much on such false scenarios when you've got guys in the cast whose real moves put acrobats and gymnasts to shame?

Despite a pace that screams “amphetamines and NOS,” the flick wore me down into boredom. —Rod Lott


 
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