Today’s Random Tokusatsu: Full Metal Yakuza (1997)

Today’s selection: Full Metal Yakuza (1997, dir. Takashi Miike)

Subgenre: Kaijin

Available from: Arts Magic

Full Metal Yakuza is a hybrid film, partly a Frankenstein-ish monster robot hero, partly a gangster movie, and because of that, it’s likely to alienate one group or another, especially when there’s much better stuff out there for either category.

The plot follows a low-ranking yakuza who gets killed and rebuilt as a cyborg by a mad scientist, who in turn wants the gangster to become a super hero. Instead, our protagonist vows to use his newfound powers to seek brutal revenge on the criminals who double-crossed him and his mentor. Miike lightens things up with periodic crude humor, which probably doesn’t serve for the movie’s best interest.

Effects in the movie are limited, sometimes okay (the cyborg suit was passable, and there were some cool car crashes and whatnot), sometime embarrassing (the character’s cyborg glowing eye was clearly added in post, and it seemed to wander around his face), but not at all uncommon for Japanese DTV cinema. Miike’s direction livens the picture up, elevating it above most of its peers in that category.

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