Tokyo Rampage

"Good"

Tokyo Rampage Review


Tokyo Rampage takes place in the big city and is crowded with flashily dressed gangsters, but this is not your typical yakuza drama. At its very still center is the mysterious and almost silent Arano (Kôji Chihara), one of the more memorable characters to ever have wandered the streets of Shibuya.

Apparently homeless and clearly deranged, the 20-ish Arano is a murder machine on an unexplained mission to cleanse the streets of the yakuza. Clad in a green parka and clutching a gym bag full of knives -- which he knows how to use with speed and style -- Arano makes his way dangerously around town.

Eventually he runs into a clique of yakuza led by the ambitious, hot-tempered Komijo (Onimaru). After watching some of Arano's homicidal activities and hearing the only thing Arano says -- "Not needed." -- Komijo realizes the best thing to do may be to pull Arano into his gang and use him as a lethal hit man. Arano, who has no particular opinion about anything, and tags along on the gang's adventures and hangs out in their sex-and-drugs lair without comment.

Eventually, of course, Arano's murderous ways are destined to set off a gang war, but most of the violence takes place not in the streets in small offices where Arano can dispatch a small crowd with a few flicks of his wrist. This is the kind of movie where the pool of blood beneath a victim spreads with unnatural speed and gets all over everything.

Along the way Arano also manages to sort of befriend a gang of rowdy skate punks who team him how to thrash and even attaches himself to a gang moll who has a bit of crush on him despite all those knives.

Writer/director Toshiaki Toyoda follows in the footsteps of other better known yakuza directors, most notably the prolific Takashi Miike, but in Arano he has created a unique character who takes his story places that more typical yakuza bloodbaths don't go. Is there any explanation for Arano's peculiar mission? Was his father/mother/girlfriend killed by a gangster? We never find out. Toyoda presents Arano to us as an uncontrollable and dangerous force of nature and keeps things interesting by getting us to side with him, at least part of the way. After all, isn't his mission to rid the streets of criminals a noble one? Shouldn't we encourage him to slash a few more throats before he drops the knives and leaves his gym bag behind?

Aka Poruna sutâ.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Toshiaki Toyoda

Producer: Masakazu Takei, Miyoshi Kikuchi

Starring: Chihara Junia as Arano (as Kôji Chihara), Rin Ozawa as Alice, Onimaru as Kamijo, Tetta Sugimoto as Matsunaga, as Yakuza Boss, Reona Hirota as 5-Star Pussycat, Yasuhiro Suzu as Tatsuo, Kiyohiko Shibukawa as Ginji (as Kee)

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