What a brutal depiction of gang violence. And... other stuff. This film established Miike's use of both gratuitous violence and his odd characterization, as many scenes were filled with assault and torture. Each scene is filled with true grit, and there are at least two you'll never forget (see it to find out!) Very serious overall, and it really stuck out.
The first Miike to screen theatrically finds the maestro well on his way to establishing a template from which most of his gangland freak-outs would subsequently pull. SHINJUKU TRIAD SOCIETY is definitely sordid and wild, but it is also an ambitious saga w/ weighty themes. Miike has always distinguished himself in terms of his critical depiction of the alienation of non-Japanese Asian diaspora in Japanese society.
A dark and lurid film with its taboo sex, moral compass (you don't quite know who to root for), and seedy atmosphere. However, the more-serious coating creates a tug-o-war with its outlandish violence and odd, dark humor that makes it debased. It's unique and makes you want to take a shower, but it doesn't get you thinking too hard either. As both it's humanity and inhumanity feels cheap and buried in shock tactics.
Genuinely kick ass. Has that cool 90's Tokyo vibe that I don't think we'll get again - Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, Ryu Murakami. Gritty neon lit alleys and underground arcades where you can hear the Sega intro fuzz over the artificial lighting. Oversized suits and yelling. So happy films like this one, which is tasteless by all means, exists.
At times I was disgusted, at others times I was in praise, sometimes I was confused but at all times, throughout 'Shinjuku Triad Society', I was hooked. Technically questionable with a tendency to be overly-melodramatic, the film offers a fascinating morally ambiguous protagonist who I didn't know whether to root for or to despise. It challenged me. A must watch for fans of John Woo, Won-Kar-Wai and Abel Ferrara.
(3.5 stars) Gritty and violent, this Miike crime thriller uses fantastic scoring to help elevate it above its genre. It's chock-full of blood, violence and sex. An early promise of things to come for this crazy director.
Often cited as the film in which Takashi Miike pinned down his main traits and style, this is a strange and entertaining crime film, with occasional moments of brutal violence and deliberately twisted sex scenes. So, yes, typical Miike.