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Deadly Outlaw: Rekka (JAPAN 2002)

Director : Takashi Miike
Cast :  Riki Takeuchi, Ryosuke Miki, Kenichi Endo, Mika Katsumura, Yuya Uchida, Tetsuro Tamba and Sonny Chiba.

After Kunisada (Riki Takeuchi)’s Yakuza leader and father figure is brutally murdered, he and his best friend (Kenichi Endo) go on a two-man mission to avenge his death, killing other Yakuza leaders leading to a final confrontation by the old man’s killers.

by Edward Tang

I wasn’t expecting anything out of this film, because if it was good I probably would have heard of it . There are much better Yakuza films out there, but I don’t really remember having this much fun at one of them like I did with Rekka. Rekka is basically about a renegade Yakuza who destroys everyone and everything in his path, with crowbars and rocket launchers. Sure the film does have some parts with the characters just standing around, but if you can take that in, you probably will enjoy it as much as I did. This film can’t be taken seriously, from the two hitmen who bicker back and forth, from blowjob lovin’ Yakuza bosses, this film had me smiling the entire time. The tunes packed on by Flower Traveling Band are kickass and basically the film follows the badassed nature of such.

Being a Takashi Miike film, it was a little odd to say the least. There’s a ghost of an old man who appears and shouts out “Rock and Roll” which made me laughing my ass off. His direction in this film is loose, from blood shots hitting the camera to actually well done action scenes. I was really impressed by action portrayed in this film, especially in a few particular scenes. The beginning montage is excellent, Flower Traveling Band’s song hits up, and we see the assassin chasing down his targets. I mean added with the music and how it actually fit with what was happening, was totally awesome. But then how Miike made this film a little bit campy, was that after the assassin is choked and then he cuts off the hands of the choker, we find him in a later scene with two hands still around his neck, but no arms. Hell even a guy whose loses his head still can moves his eyes.

He also did well with scenes that probably would look bad everywhere else. There a bunch of scenes that involve Kunisada destroying the shit out of buildings was just fun. It could have looked like shit, but as Miike does, makes stupid things look great (A man sticking a piece of metal into his ear). The final sequence includes a pretty good action scene involving the two assassins, Kunisada and his buddy. I liked this one, especially that big bitch gun. Then another scene involving Kunisada taking out a bunch of guys in a parking lot because they made some idiotic wise crack. What was good about these is that this film seemed to be coming from everywhere in terms of: action, comedy, drama, crime, romance! That’s what I’m talking about. I did feel however, that this film dragged in a few places. But those scenes aren’t that bad, considering what else is in this film.

The music was pretty damn cool. They got it from a 70s band, and Miike liked it because it sounded way before its time. I don’t know about that, but it surely was used greatly in this film. Miike’s films are usually funny, but this one had me laughing most of the time. Mostly from the antics of the two hitmen, as they’d talk about random shit, go outside naked and enjoy watching Kunisada destroy buildings. Then of course, the hand prints remain on the guy’s neck for the entire film. The comedy was in total control of this film, and made it much better than it was. I really didn’t get the romance between Kunisada or the girl, in what they were trying to dish out with it. But on a whole, I’m probably being picky if I’m bringing up the boring scenes and romance, because I barely noticed them.

Riki Takeuchi played Kunisada and stole the show completely. His character was just a plain badass whom really has great screen presence. The major quality of his character is that you like the guy, even though he doesn’t mind destroying everything in sight. When he’s taking out those assholes in the parking garage, his intensity and psychotic overtones bare the mark of a true genius. Kunisada’s buddy had some good moments as well, when he gets the beetle and shows it to Kunisada and then he slams the beetle to the ground, funny as shit. Sonny Chiba has a small role and is more than a elongated cameo that really isn’t anything special. (Note: His name is all over the box of the DVD I rented). The two hitmen were funny as hell and made the film’s comedic tone alot more noticed.

“Rekka” is a damn good film that should be seen by all fans of the Yakuza genre. I found it to be very entertaining, very funny and very good. Takeuchi is great and truly shines like he did in Fudoh and such other films where he kicks ass. Fans of Miike might not find this to be heaven sent, but I’m sure they’ll find something out of it. It’s a great flick that oozes entertainment, and truly is the best film that involves a rocket launcher destroying buildings.

Plot : 3/5
Acting : 3/5
Entertainment : 4/5
Overall : 4/5

Notable Scenes
- The final action sequence
- the assassination of the head of the Sando
- Kunisada’s fight with the goons in the parking garage

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Deadly Outlaw : Rekka

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