Festival favorite Sion Sono returns with an exercise in brash, colorful chaos pitting street gangs against one another in a bold hip hop musical.
Tokyo is at war, the city carved into pieces with each territory controlled by a variety of hip hop street gangs. Left to their own devices the gangs co-exists in an uneasy balance but when the order is disrupted … watch out, because things are going to get crazy.
Sion Sono has long been revered among cult film fans as a sort of patron saint of excess, the director never shying away from indulging his grand – and often bizarre, violent and troubling – visions. And with his adaptation of Santa Inoue’s manga Sono has delivered on his grandest scale yet. Shot on a massive set to give the director every possible freedom and opportunity to bring his vision to the screen without any concessions to the real world, Tokyo Tribe delivers a sort of ultra-underground West Side Story with the characters bolder, the drugs flowing freely, and the (mostly) playful violence dial cranked up to eleven.
Built around a cast of actual rappers, stunt men, first time actors discovered via open YouTube auditions and cult favorites like Riki Takeuchi, Tokyo Tribe is what happens when an in-the-blood maverick is given financial resources to match the biggest mainstream talents without any of the attendant restrictions. This is entertainment on a grand scale with every frame jammed with amazing imagery and every scene threatening to twist off in unexpected directions. Strap yourself in, Sono’s bringing the crazy.(Todd Brown)