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Tokyo Tribe 

Wednesday, Nov 11 2015

One of the joys of Japanese cinema is how it not only wholeheartedly embraces genres — the Japanese make so many ghost stories because the Japanese like ghost stories; deal with it — but also happily mixes them up. A premiere mixer of things is director Sion Sono, who follows up last year's ultraviolent Why Don't You Play in Hell? with the B-boy bouillabaisse Tokyo Tribe, which brings together hip-hop, martial arts, Yakuza pictures, Crows Zero-style street-fighting, and balls-out madness in a neon-drenched, earthquake-prone dystopia run by colorful street gangs. And of course, it's based on a manga. Also, the majority of the dialogue is rapped, which isn't nearly as poor a decision as it might seem. Inasmuch as Tokyo Tribe is concerned with its own narrative — it's kinda not — the story involves the conflicts between the city's multiple street gangs, particularly a beef between Merra (Ryohei Suzuki) the bleached-blond leader of the Wu-rons, and Kai (Young Dais), head of the Musashino Saru, who would prefer that everybody just get along. The picture is homophobic and sexist and obsessed with tits 'n' ass — like much of the American hip-hop it venerates — but to take offense at any of the content would first require taking anything in the movie seriously, and Tokyo Tribe   certainly doesn't. 


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Sherilyn Connelly


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