Have you ever thought to yourself, “You know what 'Walter Hill's The Warriors' needed? More gangster rap, and preferably in Japanese”?
Then allow me to introduce you to “Tokyo Tribe.”
Sion Sono may well be one of the most interesting and prolific figures in international cinema. This year alone, he has made 574 new feature films, and in the time it's taken me to type this sentence, he has written and shot another 40. I am almost completely sure that every single film I saw at this year's Toronto Film Festival was directed by Sion Sono. Perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but I am truly in awe of this guy's amazing work ethic, and by the variety in the films he makes. I find it hard to believe that the same man who made the delicate, quiet “The Wandering Star” could be the same candidate for every watchlist ever who made the hilariously perverted “Love Exposure.”
In some ways, “Tokyo Tribe” feels like all of his movies rolled into one. I love the movie, and one of the highlights of 2014 for me was introducing the film at Fantastic Fest in front of packed houses full of my tribe, the like-minded movie lunatics who fill those theaters every year. It was the tenth Fantastic Fest, and some of my very favorite people in the world were in that room. I told them that I have been blessed to have found my tribe in this world, and I think it's something we all want. I am never surprised by stories of people who fall into groups that do or say horrible things, because I think most of those people are less about the horrible things and more about the belonging to a group. I am fortunate because my tribe is about art and creation and sharing film as a window into the world, and my tribe is adventurous and welcoming and diverse.
In Sion Sono's completely insane musical gang epic, all of Tokyo has been divided up by crazy people, and each gang has a totally different sonic signature. Each gang raps in a style that is all their own. We are introduced to gang after gang, then introduced to a degenerate family that is determined to take it all over using a massive gang, assembled in secrecy and then unleashed in one long night where they are going to force all of the gangs of Tokyo to fight for their lives.
Our exclusive clip comes a little before the start of the third act, as the various gangs meet to discuss standing together against the crime family, and it introduces you to the visual differences between a few of the gangs who are still alive and ready to fight by this point.
On October 23rd, “Tokyo Tribe” arrives in theaters and on VOD and iTunes. It's such a compulsively watchable film that the day after I saw it in Austin (I'd seen it already at Toronto by that point as well), I ordered the CD soundtrack from a Japanese website, and it has been on my iPod ever since. I can't wait to see it again, and I hope you guys check it out, whether you're familiar with Sion Sono already or not.
Besides… you have to see the ultimate explanation of why the two main tribes are at war. You have to witness the moment when it is explained in the final fight. Sion Sono manages to flip the bird to pretty much every “dude versus dude” movie ever made, and it's beautiful.