Cyberpunk Review » Full Metal Yakuza

May 14, 2006

Full Metal Yakuza

Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 1997

Directed by: Takashi Miike

Written by: Itaru Era (screenplay), Hiroki Yamaguchi (story)

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Medium

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Low

Key Cast Members:

  • Kensuke Hagane: Tsuyoshi Ujiki
  • Rating: 5 out of 10

    Full Metal Yuzuka screen capture


    Overview: Full Metal Yakuza is simultaneously a campy low-budget Robocop Rip-off done with gangsters and an exercise in a mild form of extreme Japanese cinema. Director Takeshi Mike (best known for Ichi the Killer, but also did Andoromedia) does his trademark extreme blood spatters, and includes lots of head chopping, gun fighting, and a torture-rape-suicide scene thrown in for good measure. You won’t get any big picture thoughts out of this flick, but you might want to tune in for the crazy action and visuals.


    Full Metal Yuzuka screen capture


    The Story: Kensuke Hagane (Tsuyoshi Ujiki) is a slacker junior gangster who doesn’t show a lot of potential. In his mind, he wants to be a Yakuza – a tough guy with a code that’s feared by all. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t have what it takes. He sucks at fighting, enforcement, and worse – he even sucks at love making. He idolizes the older Tousa, a gangster tough guy extraordinaire that has a detailed dragon tattooed on his back. After Tousa gets taken prisoner for 7 years, Hagane perseveres to become an enforcer. Unfortunately, when released, the Yakuza gang betrays Tousa and shoots him down – Kensuke gets killed in the crossfire.


    Full Metal Yuzuka screen capture


    Then the weirdness begins – Hagane wakes up in a strange lab, and finds out that his head has been removed from his body and is now attached to a cyborg body, partially made up with Tousa’s remains. He has Tousa’s heart, hands, feet, tattooed back, and most importantly, his very large “member.” An insane genius scientist ((TETSUO’s Tomorowo Taguchi), for reasons never explained, has brought him back to life, but before Hagane agrees to work with the scientist, he must take revenge on those who killed him and Tousa.


    Full Metal Yakuza screen capture


    Hagane goes all out, killing his way to the top, but eventually stops due to the pleading of his former friend. Along the way, he also finds Tousa’s mistress (Shoko Nakahara), and falls in love with her. Things go horribly wrong when she is taken prisoner. Hagane now has to finish what he started.


    Full Metal Yakuza screen capture


    Yes, He’s a Cyborg, But…: Nothing in this movie should be taken too seriously, especially the cyborg aspects of this. Kensuke eats bullets and other assorted metals for energy, but apparently doesn’t even need to grind his teeth to chew them. His body is fully metal, but apparently he’s had an extra large dick grafted on as well. He does weird chants in order to temporarily turn off his emotions (apparently, this trips a jump switch of some kind). I could go on, but nothing in this depiction of cyborgs is intended to be anything other than the creation of a setting.


    Full Metal Yakuza screen capture


    The Visuals: Full Metal Yakuza gives us a number of trademark Takeshi Mike shots, including massive screaming, gratuitous blood spurts shooting in all directions, torture and rape, and a variety of surreal action scenes. From a cyberpunk standpoint, the interesting visuals take place when Hagane is first transformed into a cyborg. In many ways, they resemble a lighter version of Android from Notre Dame’s visuals.


    Full Metal Yuzuka screen capture


    The Bottom Line: Full Metal Yakuza is interesting in that it was apparently made for a very low budget. There is enough here in terms of strange, extreme cyberpunk visuals that many might really enjoy this flick. Just don’t be expecting too much from the story. There are whole sets of scenes that go absolutely no where (the female cyborg chick, for instance), and many more that strain the bounds of coherence. But if you’re interested in watching a campy, extreme Japanese, non-sensical cyberpunk flick, you might want to give Full Metal Yakuza a try.


    ~See movies similar to this one~

    This post has been filed under Man-machine Interface, 5 Star Rated Movies, B Cyberpunk Cinema, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.


    July 8, 2006

    Glam Creature said:

    While I am not big fan of Takashi Miike’s admiration with yakuza themes (except the excellent “Ichi The Killer”), this movie is quite interesting and creative exploitation of Robocop theme. The movie gets better, when you know that it was so low-budget and made not for cinema screen, but video-market.
    BTW the language of weird chant, which should keep Full Metal Yakuza calm (and other 2 short places of mad scientist talk) is Russian.

    July 9, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Russian chanting, ey? Cool!

    Yeah, I didn’t exactly love it either. It does have a few interesting moments though.

    July 30, 2006

    max said:

    am i missing something?
    why do you call it “Full metal yaZuKa”, not “yaKuZa” everywhere in the text?

    since you don’t have a Testimonials page i’ll say it here: thanks for your website! I found quite a few movies worth watching i wasn’t aware of… :)

    SFAM said:

    Hi Max, no you’re not missing a thing. You’ve just discovered that I’m a meathead. ;)

    Thanks for finding the very obvious catch! It should be fixed now.

    July 12, 2007

    igargoyle said (trackback):

    Austrailian Cop Fears Cyborg Gangs…

    Australian police force commissioner Mick Keelty is having cyberpunk nightmares about cyborg gangs. I wonder what sci-fi books are on his bed stand. Technology such as cloned part-robot humans used by organised crime gangs pose the greatest future cha…

    August 30, 2008

    andra said:

    i’m your fans so longly

    September 18, 2008

    pkd said:

    Miike like to play & mix with the codes of (too) conventional cinema. Here with the Japanese super-hero and the cyberpunk. Full Metal Yakuza is really funny and enjoyable !

    pkd said:

    “Full Metal Yakuza is interesting in that it was apparently made for a very low budget.” : I agree with you, Full Metal Yakuza too…

    May 17, 2009

    miuka said:

    meli by si dat pozor , aby nespadli na zada

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