Yakuza in Love, A
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“A Yakuza in Love” is a new release from ArtsMagic. It is an unpredictable film that starts as a comedy before it heads into the territory of dark drama. It is a highly unique film, that is both a fun, and disturbing ride.
“A Yakuza in Love” begins with Kinichi, a Yakuza informer who is assigned to kill a rival leader. As they wait for the target to show up, a young waitress named Yoko at a nearby restaurant caches his eye. Soon he is ignoring his stakeout to talk with the Yoko. Turns out she is a small town girl who has just moved to the big city, and is now feeling a little out of place. Kinichi lies and says he is a car salesman and is able to score a date with Yoko. While out on there first date, Kinichi's partner ends up messing up the assassination attempt, and Kinichi ends up slipping Yoko a Mickey. After dinner and a night of drugged up sex, Yoko learns the truth about Kinichi occupation, and ends up escaping with Kinichi and his partner to a smaller town where Kinichi’s boss is located. Things ends up going down hill as Kinichi ends up with a nasty little drug habit, and other oddities ensue.
“A Yakuza in Love” is one of the few movies that kept me guessing throughout its length. There aren't any huge twists, but the characters drug fueled behavior is unpredictable. The film does have a great level of absurdity to it. The first half is filled with colorful characters who exhibit weird behavior. Kinichi’s boss in particular is hilarious as a dying Yakuza boss who spits up blood. How is this funny you ask. It's all thanks to a high energy performance that is really over the top. The film does take a more serious turn during its second half. It retains its unpredictable nature, but the tone is much more of a downer. This is not a story of great love, it is a tale of how drugs can screw with you. Kinichi attempts to go clean, but fails, and we are left to watch the relationship unravel. The film is much less tragic than it could be, for example, it is no “Requiem for a Dream”.
Though “A Yakuza in Love” is a lively watch, its biggest misstep is related to its unpredictable plot line. Ultimately, you never feel you know Kinichi and Yoko very well. While they are colorful, I never found myself liking them all that much. Yoko at times seemed annoyingly naive, where as Kinichi was more or less a douche bag. This kept me from getting too wrapped up in the characters' plight. Part of this may be due to the film straddling the fence between comedy and drama, but some fault does fall on the writer. We never learn about Kinichi’s or Yoko’s background. We never see the lives they lead before they met each other, which might give insight to their current actions. Granted “A Yakuza in Love” is still an entertaining watch, but I feel like it could have been better with a little more work on the script.
In conclusion, it’s a good film. Not a masterpiece, but it is an entertaining way to kill two hours. It has solid direction, great acting, and is unpredictable. If you hate subtitles, this is not a place to begin watching foreign films. It does move at a much faster pace than many other Asian films, and if you want something different and entertaining, check this one out. 3 ½ Cans.
Added: Saturday, December 17, 2005
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