Film Review - Tokyo Dragon Chef
This is a funny and out-there film, not what you would expect, but its a gangster comedy, hard boiled ramen style with music, dance routines, slapstick and drama. It's definitely worth the watch if you liked those left-of-centre films such as Fox Family, Happiness of the Katakuris or even the 80s cult classic Blues Brothers.
As the older lead male actors are all well known in Japan for playing yakuza roles, this comes like an alternate reality, as if to say, they are not actors anymore, but have become the yakuza they play. Tatsu (Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi - Tokyo Tribe, Blade Of The Immortal) has just been released from jail and the world he steps into isn't the world he stepped out of. Greeted by Ryu (Yasukaze Motomiya - Outrage Coda, Graveyard Of Honour), he learns their boss was decapitated by a mysterious man with a third eye who has been terrorizing all of the Yakuza clans across Japan. So, all former yakuza have been forced to non-criminal work and in the case of Ryu, it's a pint-sized mobile nato de coco drinks vendor van and not the Mercedes-Benz Tatsu had hoped to be driven in. Alas, a lot has changed.
So what does a former yakuza member do with his time as crime isn't an option? Well, you start a ramen restaurant and hope for the best. And things do go well for the 'brothers' with a fast and steady stream of customers, who eagerly await to taste Tatsu's praised prison ramen. Well, that is until a former rival yakuza gang, Tokyo Ozama Brothers, open up shop across the road, armed ready with Chinese chef knifes and yakuza daggers, for whatever turf war might start.
However, Tokyo Dragon Chef and Tokyo Ozama Brothers have more to worry about than past rivalries. Gizumo (J-pop star Yutaro), and his bandits are on the loose and they want all the money and power they can get. So do the rival gangs bury the hatchet and team up to fight Gizumo? Or do old wounds run too deep?
Tokyo Dragon Chef is a star studded film with mix of generational actors and celebrities. You have J-pop singers Rinne Yoshida, Michi and Yutaro playing supporting roles alongside veterans actors; Hitoshi Ozawa (Violent Cop) and Ozawa Kazuyoshi (Score). There is even a cameo appearance byTak Sakaguchi (Versus, Re:Born).
If you are familiar with the director Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police, Meatball Machine: Kodoku), then you will have an idea of what to expect from this film. It doesn't have the gore, however, like all his films, this one is equally bonkers and kitsch.
To be released on 25th January 2021 on DVD and available to stream online.
Director: Yoshihiro Nishimura
Cast: Yasukaze Motomiya, Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi, Kazuyoshi Ozawa
Language: Japanese (with English subtitles)
Genre: Gangster Comedy