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Yakuza Weapon [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 18
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 106 Mins.
  • Studio: Bounty Films/Eureka Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 7, 2012
  • RRP: £20.42

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

Based on the original manga by Ken Ishikawa (Getter Robo), Yakuza Weapon (極道兵器, Gokudô heiki) is an over-the-top spoof yakuza film/gore-fest from actor/director Tak Sakaguchi (Deadball; Mutant Girls Squad) and director Yûdai Yamaguchi (Meatball Machine; Battlefield Baseball; Versus). It doesn’t take but a few moments into Yakuza Weapon to realize that you’re watching something completely schizophrenic, blood-drenched, and campy.

The story follows Shozo (Sakaguchi), a yakuza exiled in South America working as mercenary who returns to Japan after learning that his crime boss father has been killed by rivals. Looking for vengeance against the one responsible, Kurawaki (Shingo Tsurumi), Shozo engages in a bloody battle that results in a building being destroyed and the loss of his arm and leg. Here’s where the story gets really weird. A covert government agency takes Shozo into custody and, in a twist worthy of a 1970s television series, they equip him with a bionic arm and leg. Now Shozo’s right arm is an M61 Vulcan cannon and his left leg a grenade launcher. After some initial pain, he quickly embraces his newly upgraded body, makes some modifications of his own, and sets out on his mission to take down the still alive Kurawaki.

While Yakuza Weapon certainly shows its origins in the world of manga, this story just does not work in live action. At least Sakaguchi and Yamaguchi, both of whom also co-wrote the screenplay, weren’t terribly successful at adapting it to the screen. The acting consists of snarling every line, the women are all  one-dimensional stereotypes — sexy, co-dependent stalkers, scantily clad or all of the above. The film loses focus at every turn, becoming dull, boring. Only in the second half after the “bionic man” twist does it ramp up its energy and pinpoint its focus. By then, it’s too late, and they’ve lost us.

(For a different take, read our Yakuza Weapon Blu-ray Review by Brendan Surpless)

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

These low-budget Japanese action/gore flicks rarely result in imagery that can be described as reference high definition. Not to break that trend, Yakuza Weapon turns up on Blu-ray from Bounty Films and Eureka Entertainment in a competent, but hardly flawless AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer. There are certainly instances of aliasing that can be spotted early on and lots of video noise. Detail isn’t very sharp and contrast is middling at best. Extreme close-ups yield the best picture quality, but detail trails off quite quickly when moving into the backgrounds. Texturally, Yakuza Weapon doesn’t offer up much either and colors seem a bit flat as well.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Even with the Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack, Yakuza Weapon is underwhelming as a home theatre mix. Much of the action remains across the front three channels, which are, admittedly, quite active and aggressively panned. The surround channels, however, are tragically underused, as is the subwoofer, resulting in a somewhat thin and at times harsh sounding mix during the many explosions and gunplay scenes. Dialogue seems clear enough, however.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The supplements are a oddball mixture of extended and deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, short films, interview segments, and premiere footage. On the positive side, everything is presented in 1080i HD, though the quality leaves much to be desired.

The supplements:

  • Isolated Music Track – DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:06:30)
  • The Making of Yakuza Weapon (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:46:20)
  • Takuzo’s Weapon – Short Film (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:15:34)
  • Toki’s Wedding Part One (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:16:24)
  • The Tower of Kurawaki (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:05:11)
  • Opening Day Stage Greeting (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:05:48)
  • Dream Jumbo Talk Show – A Discussion with Manga Artist Go Nagai and Directors Yodai Yamaguchi & Tak Sakaguchi (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:22:59)
  • Trailer (1.78:1; 1080i/60)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Yakuza Weapon is a fine example of a manga adapted poorly or, perhaps, one that would have been bettered served by the world of anime. An anime series or even feature film could have blended these crime world sci-fi themes much more seamlessly and made it easier to suspend disbelief. This live action splatter-fest is a disappointment and probably not even worth renting, unfortunately.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005SDDDMG[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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