Fudoh - the New Generation (1996)Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Hosuike Tanihara, Kenji Takano, Marie Jinno, Tamaki Kenmochi, Toru Mineishi, Riki Takeuchi, Miho Nomoto
Tagline: A family feud with swords!
For Riki Fudoh (Hosuike Tanihara), growing up didn't just mean going to school and being beaten up by bullies, he also had the worry that his dad was going to sneak into his room one night and cut his head off, just so he could please the gang he was in.
Years later and he is a senior in high school and seems to be a normal every day student. When the leaders of his father's gang start to be eliminated, the suspicion naturally falls on Riki as he is understandably still angry at his father.
Also curious is the giant Aizome (Kenji Takano) who manages to get through Riki's bodyguards and has a chat with him after a quick game of soccer. He ends up joining Riki's group and they go raid the gang's temple. The real plot soon reveals itself, but I won't spoil it for you as you will have to find out who is really behind the killings and who survives. There are a lot of killings in this movie as you would expect, but I don't agree with the warning that the film gleefully displays "WARNING. This film has been rated 18 as it infringes on public order and morality. Sit back calmly and enjoy it in total darkness." as I have seen worse Miike's own movies.
There are some very interesting deaths including a cup of coffee that leads the victim to spray out enough blood to fill the back of a car, the little kid assassins and of course blowpipe girl - exactly where she sticks the blowpipe is another thing you should find out for yourself.
Having seen a lot of Hong Kong Triad films, this is quite a step up for me. While the Triad films are very trashy and exploitative, Takeshi Miike manages to bring things to a higher level with even more explicit violence and wacky situations.
I did think the character of Riki was a bit boring as he mostly sits in class on the phone while most of the killing takes place. He does get to do some himself, but not until later in the film. This is made up for by his gang of assassins though as they have some entertaining ways of killing people.
I also liked Aizome as he even gets blown up and just laughs it off. He also has the habit of stepping on people as he just walks over the top of them if they are in his way. He also has the best line in the movie after having a run-in with the blowpipe girl.
Above all this a very solid Yakuza film and would be enjoyed by people who like stories about gangsters with lots of violence and an interesting plot. The original story was based on a popular Manga so you would expect the story to be a bit unrealistic in places. If you have heard of Takeshi Miike and are not game to try his harsher films such as Ichi the Killer and Audtion, then I recommend this movie as an introduction to his work. Fans of Kill Bill may also be interested in seeing another take on a schoolgirl assassin which is much different than Tarrantino's version.