China Mafia War
"...a weak attempt at a gritty crime cop drama."
- The Reviewer With No Name
China Mafia War (1995)
AKA: Shinjuku Triad Society
Director: Takashi Miike
Producer: Tetsuya Ikeda, Toshiki Kimura, Ken Takeuchi, Tsutomu Tsuchikawa
Cast: Takeshi Caesar, Kyosuke Izutsu, Ren Osugi, Kippei Shiina, Tomorrow Taguchi, Airi Yanagi
Running Time: 100 min.
Plot: A rising triad does his best to turn two other groups against each other by using a gullible lawyer to trick them into getting fake deals and respect in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. But only a cop can stop them from this, and while he digs into the whole scheme, he doesn't realize what danger he's putting himself and his brother (who's the lawyer for the renegade group) into.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
THE REVIEWER WITH NO NAME'S REVIEW: I was really, really looking forward to this film. The day I got it I was so exited and happy to own such a somewhat unknown and unheard of film from Takashi Miike. Well, I was hugely let down and disappointed at the film. All the reviews I read promised extreme violence and a good storyline. What I was treated to was soft core homosexuality and ridiculous violence. Even though this was an early Miike film, I can't believe that he actually made films before this one, it boggles my mind.
Like most Miike films, this started off with an intro that got you into the film, then, lets you down in every way possible. There are a lot of things I wanted to like about the film, but it was just the some of the sick humor that runs rampant throughout the film, the best of which being right after the opening where a girl gets her asshole fingered, in front of a cop with a boner. Yeah the sexual stuff is pretty extreme, the film is littered with rapes and sex. The sex however is more homo then hetro, sorry to the fans of this, but I just don't dig on soft core homosexuality in my films. I've read many reviews dismissing Gonin for the homoerotic content. Only if they could see this, actually, I'd recommend it just to see how fucked up this actually is. The homo sex scenes include blowjobs, rapes and straight sex. Most of the sex with this one guy who looks like a 12 year old kid. One scene where someone gets raped started out funny, then got sick. Yeah, I'm a bit of a homophobe, but I got tired of the sex after the fourth blowjob that lasts about two minutes.
Not much with the story either, it sounded good when I read it but it didn't deliver. The plot itself trys to dig deep in some scenes but ends up getting slower and slower by the films pace. The acting is actually very good, and that gives it a slight redeemable quality. The main character does an excellent job, as does some others. The main bad guy doesn't say a word throughout the entire film really, but he actually did good as a complete psycho (I think he's in DOA: Birds in one scene where Sho and Riki turn into kids and surround someone who's stargazing). It also stars Ren Osugi, who's a Miike regular and has been in some of Kitano's films as well (Horibe in Hana Bi) puts in a decent performance as what appears to be a third-rate gang leader who is interested in black market shit like organ selling, too bad something realistic like that wasnÔt as exploited as the homosexual content.
Like a lot of other Miike films, this has an inter-oriental cast. The main character himself is part Chinese, and about 15 minutes of the film is spent in Taiwan. The main bad guy is actually Taiwanese/Japanese and speaks both languages throughout the film. That's a bit cool, also how a lot of the dialogue switches from Japanese to Mandarin in some key scenes that are between normal characters who are Japanese.
Then comes an ending where Miike gets totally lazy and makes us figure out what happened. It's not in a positive way like Ichi the Killer or Audition, it's Miike being lazy with both the direction and plot finale. The finale is weak as hell also. I was at least expecting one or two shootouts or something violent in it like it promised but there was about 5 shootings (at one time) and an eyeball ripped out of someones eye socket. The climax is reasonably bloody but I won't give that away. And there's a moronic throat slitting that contains the stupidest and fakest looking bloodspray ever in a film.
Nothing more nothing less about the film except what I've mentioned above. A so-so music score mix of quirky industrial beats and sounds. But that's it.
All in all, this is a weak film in almost every respect besides some good acting and some funny sick moments. But I would only recommend it to the hardcore Miike fan. I can't call myself a hardcore Miike fan because I basically blind bought this. Miike's done MUCH, MUCH better with films like DOA: Birds and City of Lost Souls, because this was a nothing more then a weak attempt at a gritty crime cop drama.
THE REVIEWER WITH NO NAME'S RATING: 3/10