Well, what can I say? That was something a bit different! If I had known in advance that what I was about to watch was a Japanese hip-hop musical about warring gangs in an alternate Tokyo, I suspect at least a few alarm bells might have gone off. The idea is so wilfully absurd that the movie could easily fall into car crash territory. But you are probably thinking that there is a 'however' coming up here and you would indeed be correct, as in the event Tokyo Tribe proved to be a properly exhilarating movie experience. The originality on display was pretty mind-boggling not just in terms of basic idea but also in execution. There is a story but I realised pretty early on that paying full attention to it was not really a primary requirement. Needless to say, I can't actually be bothered summarising the plot synopsis. What this one is resolutely all about is style over substance. For some viewers that is a cinematic crime but I personally think that we get a little too much 'substance' and not anywhere near enough genuine style in our modern movies. Tokyo Tribe is an example of a film that is great, great style and is pure cinema from start to finish.
Seemingly it was based on a manga comic, which isn't exactly surprising given the sheer insanity that unfolds on the screen. It has an extremely colourful aesthetic with great sets and costuming. The look is constantly interesting and surprising, a fantastic spectacle overall. But this crazy film also has most of its dialogue rapped as well. I hadn't even been aware of Japanese hip-hop before this so it was an education I can tell you. The style of filming with lots of long takes was somewhat similar to the style that many rap music videos adopted, so this is another disparate element mixed into the overall concoction. So what do we have here? Well, we have martial arts fighting (although not so much so that it gets overbearing), some good old fashioned sexploitation elements, a beat-boxing maid, a Mr Big gangster with an ever-present dildo, human furniture, a tank driving Samurai, a super-strong black henchman, (very) cute Japanese women of various shapes and sizes, some men with misguided hair-cuts, a wheel of death, a depressed youth in a hoodie who pitches up every so often like a Greek Chorus, comic-book violence and bling weaponry. There is even more going on than this as well but that's the best I can do for now. On the whole, this is a highly entertaining action-comedy-musical with a real energy and originality. This really does define the term one of a kind!
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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 joins forces with heavy hitting sadistic gangster Buppa of Buppa Town. With Buppa's support, Merra aims to initiate a gang war between the Wu-Ronz and the Musashino Saru, and in a confrontation between the two attempts to kill popular member of the Musashino Saru - Kai. By mistake, Merra instead kills Kai's friend Tera (a Musashino Saru member beloved by members of all Tribes since before their formation). This leads to the joining of forces between all of the Tokyo Tribes in an all out war against Merra and Buppa's forces.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
November 16, 2022 at 09:07 AM