I’ll say right up front, Japanese movies aren’t for everyone and in many cases can be an acquired taste. As much as I love Japanese movies/TV shows/history/culture/books/language yadda yadda – I don’t like all of it. On one hand you might have a movie detailing the rise of Tokugawa Ieyasu and the pivotal battle for Sekigahara, and on the other a full-fledged military force who specifically defends libraries from the government – aka whack (aka Library Wars). It’s impossible to really describe the essence of what makes Japanese cinema so great because it’s just so damned diverse – but much of it is derived from the crazy world of manga and Tokyo Tribe is no different.
The only thing I can compare Tokyo Tribe to is that old American movie The Warriors – except Tokyo Tribe is set in a near future Tokyo where practically every line is delivered in Japanese hip-hop.
In a nutshell:
In an alternate Japan, territorial street gangs form opposing factions collectively known as the Tokyo Tribes. Merra, leader of the Wu-Ronz tribe of Bukuro crosses the line to conquer all of Tokyo. The war begins.
The real kicker is right at the very end of the movie when you work out why Merra has gone to war against the other tribes. It’s utterly ludicrous, but it’s also what made this movie so awesome. It’s just a crazy audio visual feast with a suitably pumpin’ soundtrack that’s now a regular on my playlists.
It’s directed by Shion Sono whose movies I am unfamiliar with but intend on checking out further. There’s copious amounts of boobs (particularly scenes involving a knife being slowly/seductively dragged across a pair breasts on no less than 3 occasions) and every other conceivable nasty including cannibalism, human furniture and a girl begging to be raped (so she can avoid being sacrificed as a virgin by her father – and yes, that about sums up what to expect). But despite how naff this sounds, it’s surprisingly good overall – just don’t think about it too much. I’ll also point out that despite the above the graphic violence is actually quite minimal.
The gangs are colourful and all have their own representative hiphop tracks – special mention to Shinjuku Hands and their bling-samurai helmet wearing boss and moreso, their bling tank!
Women are mostly confined to being stereotypical ‘rap bitches’ but there are several – particularly Erika (from Wong Kong area!) and her partner (who I am still not 100% sure if they are male or female) who kick copious amounts of ass all throughout the movie – in particular I was otaku-like captivated by her little white panties that were displayed with practically every round-house – no doubt intentional.
I liked this movie far more than I should have and if you’re into Japanese movies or just want an audio-visual feast, I highly recommend checking out Tokyo Tribe – for Tokyo Tribe, Tokyo Tribe is your homie, unbeatable vibe Tokyo Tribe!
Make sure you check out the trailer