With 93 credits and counting, Miike Takashi is one of the most prolific directors not only in his native Japan, but probably the world. Miike has been funding his bizarre passion projects by directing teenybopper flicks and yakuza potboilers since the early ’90s, making it difficult for the uninitiated to distinguish genre masterpieces like Audition and Ichi The Killer from direct-to-video trash.
Recently Miike has been making a bid for legitimacy with mainstream hits like the video-game adaptation Ace Attorney and dignified dramas like Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai. But for his newest project, Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld, Miike is returning to his exploitation roots. Production began last week on the film, about a yakuza kingpin who has become legendary for his ability to survive any assassination attempt. That’s because he’s a vampire, as mob underling Kageyama (Hayato Ichihara) discovers after being bitten by his badly wounded boss. Kageyama is none too happy with the transformation, so he goes on a (probably excessively bloody) quest for revenge.
In a statement about Yakuza Apocalypse, Miike says, “Say good-bye to wimpy and boring Japanese movies. Nobody asked me, but I’ve decided on my own to return to my roots and start a riot!” This coming from the guy who once made a movie where a necrophiliac takes a shot of heroin to remove himself from a corpse, and another where a woman graphically gives birth to an adult man, so definitely expect something beyond outrageous when Nikkatsu releases Yakuza Apocalypse in 2015.