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Yakuza Demon

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"Yakuza is not about how many men you have." Aug. 29 2005
By M. Dog - Published on
Format: DVD
When Yakuza Demon opens with crime boss, Muto (played with sad elegance by Kaichi Iwaki), flying a model of a Zero near sunrise in a large field, his smile wistful as he works the controls, spinning the toy plane through slanting rays of the rising sun, the viewer is immediately tuned into the kind of doomed honor that will mark this film.

Briefly told: a foot soldier in a very minor, poor Yakuza family runs slightly amuck, protecting the family's boss who has gone crossways with the powers that be. The soldier (played by Yakuza and V-film legend Riki Takeuchi) is nicknamed "Sinji the ripper" and with good reason. Now, both sides are out to destroy this tiny triad. What no one can anticipate, though, is the loyalty and love that bind this tiny family together.

Takashi Miike is an astounding filmmaker. This film has a lonely, abandoned feeling about it - a sad tone - that Miike produces simply with shot composition, lighting, and editing. There is a particular sequence (when Yoshi, the youngest member of the family, goes to meet his girlfriend and must confront apposing gang members alone) that creates a near overwhelming feeling of pathetic doom.

Perhaps Miike is something very rare - a kind of freak, maybe. Like the child that can play a piano at two, or a kid from the cornfields that can swat homers while still in kindergarten; that is to say, a natural.

His work seems effortlessly original. -Mykal Banta
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Nice job March 14 2005
By Eric S. - Published on
Format: DVD
Seiji (Takeuchi Riki) loves his boss Muto like his own father, so much that when Muto's life is in danger he hides him in jail on a minor charge and pulls off a much mpre cavelier assasination attempt then asked of Muto (Seiji aims for the big boss) of a much stronger (500 to 1 man ratio) yakuza boss in Muto's place to protect his elder from the danger of this job Muto must accomplish to repay an outstanding debt. The syndicate to which Muto's family belong can't take they retalitory heat and they hang Seiji and his family out to dry. Seiji was taken in as an orphean by Muto and he and Yoshifumi (his "brothers") are all that Seiji has in this world to comfort him from the Kikou (the voice through which the dead cry) that haunt his soul. This movie, although shot on a low budget is in my opinion superior to many "theater" Yakuza movies currently offered up in Japan. Takeuchi brillantly plays a truly Sympathtic character that epitmizes the Honor, Brotherhood and Courage that make one a true yakuza brother. I won't give away the movie with a full synopsis (although you will find a "spoiler" on the DVD box), but I will say this movie has less action and more drama than the other yakuza movies offered up by Miike-san. All in all not a bad flic, and the ending is particularly evocative.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Honor, Betrayal And Revenge: Above Average Yakuza Film Oct. 18 2007
By Ernest Jagger - Published on
Format: DVD
"Yakuza Demon," by director Takashi Miike is a very good film. My only gripe with the film was the ending. However, since this is a violent world these men of the yakuza live in, then I can understand why the film ended the way it did. Other than that, I thought this was a very good film: definitely above average. The film starts out with a minor mob boss named Muto (Kaichi Iwaki) flying a Japanese Zero in an open field. Not far away, are his two trusted men. Seiji (Riki Takeuchi) and Yoshifumi (Hideki Sone). They are all part of a poor yakuza brotherhood, which is under the control of a larger clan known as the Date family. We see the boss Muto eating his noodles in what appears to be a run down home. Yet he has pride. When a rival gang shoots up one of the Date clans branches--the others in the organization require money to make a hit. The interaction between Muto and the other leaders of the clan are a bit hilarious. He has no money to help contribute to their latest request, therefore, they tell him if he does not have the money they can always take his wife. To which he responds that she has left him.

Muto is a humble man, yet, because of the honor of the clan, and due to the fact he has no money to contribute, he tells the other brothers of his clan that he will make a hit on a middle yakuza of the opposing clan known as the Tendo family, which made the hit on them. However, Seiji, who is also known as 'Sinji the Ripper' wants to do this for the boss--even though he has already been in jail for a long time for another transgression. However, the leader Muto tells him that he will do the hit, as it is not right for Seiji to go back to jail again. Yet something happens, which changes things for this poor yakuza clan. Seiji decides to protect his boss, and in doing so he makes a hit on a major leader of the Tendo clan. This spells doom for his own Date clan. For while the Date clan has several men, they do not have as large an outfit as the Tendo family. With his own brotherhood of yakuza leaving him high and dry, Seiji and his close yakuza brother Yoshifumi find themselves battling an organization of 15,000 men.

This is not a violent film, in regards to a yakuza narrative, and especially from Miike's usual standard of film making. All of the characters in the film give simple, yet nuanced performances in this film. And especially actor Riki Takeuchi--who has made a score of films with over-the-top performances. In this film he is more subdued, and the film moves at a slower pace. Yes, there are the occasional action scenes. But you will not find the bizarre character portrayals in the actors that one finds in most of Miike's films. This is a more quiet and reserved film. As the Tendo clan seeks out Seiji, who was responsible for the hit on a major yakuza player, he seeks help from no one but himself. With just a few friends to help him out, we see a departure from the typical yakuza film by Miike. Will the Tendo family finally track Seiji down? Or will Seiji heed the advice of friends and leave Japan? Moreover, will his brothers in the Date family finally help out? The is an above average to good yakuza film by Miike, and is recommended. Rent it first. [Stars: 3.5]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"They call him Seiji the Ripper." Dec 4 2005
By Dymon Enlow - Published on
Format: DVD
Despite the colorful re-titling there's nothing excessively violent or bizarre going on here like say in GOZU, ICHI THE KILLER or VISITOR Q. Made only a year after DEADLY OUTLAW RIKKA, YAKUZA DEMON is very similar in story; in fact I would say it's a toned down more thoughtful version of the same idea. Which is not a bad thing, in a normal director's hands filming the same idea twice in two years would be a disaster, but with Takashi Miike you end up with two well-made and entertaining films.

The Muto branch of the Date Family is very small. Seiji was raised in an orphanage so he feels like Mr. Muto is his father. Mr. Muto owes the Date Family money so he agrees to personally kill an executive of the rival Tendo Family in payment for his debt. Seiji knows Mr. Muto will be killed so he calls the cops and they arrest him on gun charges.

The Date Family believes Mr. Muto chickened out and called the cops himself. Seiji is angered by this insult and steals the 10 million yen from the rival family. Things escalate and Seiji begins attacking the heads of the Tendo. He has become a "stray dog", a "demon".

Riki Takeuchi is very cool, as usual, but I wish that Renji Ishibashi had had a bigger role.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Tame for Miike... Jan. 11 2005
By Morado - Published on
Format: DVD
For one of my favorite directors, Takashi Miike, this is a more sane offering. It's a Yakuza brotherhood, betrayal and revenge flick basically. Like many Miike offerings it has sporatic bursts of violence mixed with scenes of serious dialogue and lots of eating here. I appreciated the scenes of the Japanese countryside, nice break from many of his films being shot in and around the Shinjuku district of Tokyo (though I love that too). For fans of his all action, bizarre extravaganzas, this might be a bit slow though I found enough redeeming qualities to enjoy. The last line of the movie is what I'll close with, "You're way cool man."