Takeuchi Riki, the undisputed world heavyweight champion of V-Cinema stars in the four-part epic (well, not really epic - it's no Dune) Tokyo Mafia. The first movie in the four part series is Tokyo Mafia: Yakuza Wars, which tells the tale of an ex-Yakuza member, Yabuki Ginya (played of course by Takeuchi) who builds his own syndicate from the ground up, first just to make a buck, but by the end of the movie, his goals become more lofty: to take over all of Kabukicho in Tokyo! (Cue dramatic music here). Kabukicho, of course being the setting of many a Yakuza film. I haven't been to Kabukicho since 2004, but it would be an understatement to say that it had its share of strange and creepy people lurking about.
whale meat and flash memory chips (apparently hot technology back in '95) with a small group of six comrades (explained later as more of a secret society than an actual Yakuza group). But it wasn't always like this. Yabuki used to be a member of the Yamaryu crime syndicate. However, by cozying up to the boss he earned himself a major beat down from the 2nd in command of the Yamaryu group, Iwagami (Played by Yakuza film veteran Osugi Ren, from Sonatine, Shinjuku Triad Society, and can be seen snorting a 15 foot line of coke in Dead or Alive). After getting his face bashed in and an ashtray to the head, Yabuki turns the tables on the overzealous Iwagami by pulling a gun and shooting him in the leg. He bites off his pinky in a spectacular show of badass atonement for his actions, and resigns from the syndicate, followed by his well meaning but not so bright lackey, Yuki, played by Ozawa Kazuyoshi (That's right, the younger brother of always awesome Ozawa Hitoshi from Yakuza Zombie and Wild Criminal).
Yakuza Demon. All in all, Takeuchi is just doin' his thing.
Wild Criminal, I've come to idolize his brother Hitoshi, so I'm still willing to give him a chance.
Imai Masayuki, and really comes off as just a really nice guy - even though he's a Yakuza you don't really sense and ounce of bad in this guy, which (spoiler alert!) actually gets me interested in how the eventual confrontation between Yabuki and Saimon goes down in part 3.
The other characters that round out the cast include Ryoko, Yabuki's younger sister who is supposedly fluent in English, Chinese, and (obviously) Japanese, but in reality her English sucks chilled monkey balls - I guess the Japanese audience wasn't expected to pick up on this (and she apparently doesn't rank enough of an actress to get her name on the DVD case either). We also have Moriwaki, played by Yamamoto Shohei, who is the head of the Teito-kai,which is the organization that controls most of the Yakuza groups, including Iwagami's Yamaryu gang. Moriwaki can best be described as your creepy uncle who was never married, and has a fetish for young men and whale meat. Or, let me put it this way - all of the homoerotic scenes in this movie involve Moriwaki. One strangely NOT homoerotic subtitle did catch my eye though:
The Violent Rundown.
Oh yes, Tokyo Mafia: Yakuza Wars delivers a full plate of B-movie violence, including 5 shootings, 5 dismemberments, including Yabuki's bad-ass finger bite kejime, at least 2 brawls, at least 4 beatings, blunt force trauma, bone snapping, face slashing, and an eyeball rupture or two thrown in for good measure.
The Final Verdict.
Wild Criminal, but that movie has more violence, more hot chicks, and Ozawa Hitoshi, so I'm dropping it down just behind Wild Criminal. Not sure what it says about the movie when the best thing I can say about it is that it's not terrible, but I've said it before and I'll say it again - it is what it is what it is. Enjoy!