xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
It's interesting to note that the nutty-go-crazy, vampires-versus-yakuza action-comedy "Yakuza Apocalypse" was released two weeks before the post-apocalyptic hip-hop musical "Tokyo Tribe." Both films serve as post-disaster rallying cries—while "Yakuza Apocalypse" is set in a post-Tōhoku-Earthquake world where only mutants and monsters are hardy enough to survive, "Tokyo Tribe" is set in a post-civilized city ruled by gangs that ultimately must form a surrogate family. That may sound sappy, but "Tokyo Tribe," an adaptation of a popular Japanese manga, is bound to charm viewers—both the uninitiated and the diehard fans of director Sion Sono ("Why Don't You Play in Hell," "Love Exposure")—with its boundless energy ... for a while, anyway.
Sono's shambling, discursive martial arts comedy plays out like a loose, narratively-united series of blustery musical set pieces that mash up elements from earlier films ranging from "West Side Story" to "Sin City." The film's rap video aesthetic brims with Roman candles, graffiti murals, golden weapons, and writhing, half-naked groupies. And the film's gallery of "The Warriors"-style gangs all have their moments. But you will have to roll with the film's giddily excessive style if you want to enjoy "Tokyo Tribe." It's an infectiously over-the-top and unquestionably idiosyncratic mess, but it only holds together for as long as you're impressed by its commitment to an admittedly novel premise.
"Tokyo Tribe" revolves around the various gangs that have taken over an always-raining, neon-lit Tokyo. This is a city run by chest-puffing groups like the Kabukicho Gira Gira Girls, a pack of self-sufficient prostitutes, and the Nerimuthafuckaz, a group of boastful guys that really like saying their name. Ruling over them all is Boss Buppa (Riki Takeuchi), a gold-suit-wearing don with two neurotic sons, a harem of imprisoned women, and a beat-boxing vassal. Buppa's kingdom looks like a hip-hop version of Pleasure Island from "Pinocchio," except no children are transformed into donkeys. Instead, there's just a never-ending parade of competitive chest-puffing that doesn't cohere into a narrative-like imperative until the Waru Clan comes out of nowhere, and threatens the gangs' tentative status quo.
You can tell that the Waru clan is a disposable threat because their rivals are only able to identify Waru members based on their apparel ("That's what it said on their shirts"). But Sono is much more interested in Buppa and his wacko spawn. Nkoi (Yôsuke Kubozuka) is a decadent, pan-sexual Caligula wannabe whose private chambers is full of human furniture that looks a lot like the fixtures in "A Clockwork Orange"'s Moloko Milk Bar. And Mera (Ryôhei Suzuki) is a bleach-blonde muscleman with abs for days, and an irrational hatred of Kai (Young Dais), the Musashino peace-and-love-espousing gang leader.