West Side Story for the Connoisseur of Fetish Porn, Hype Williams, and Power Rangers: Tokyo Tribe

Tokyo Tribe-Sono

Tokyo Tribe
Directed by Sion Sono
Opens October 23

Both a hip-hop musical and an alternate-reality gangland gorefest, Tokyo Tribe is the sort of left-field experiment that has more appeal on paper than in actual practice. Staid and unadventurous despite the genre mishmash, it functions essentially as a feature-length music video: West Side Story for the connoisseur of fetish porn, Hype Williams, and Power Rangers, a would-be Rocky Horror that’s not entirely in on the joke.

No stranger to the gonzo/WTF arena, Sono nevertheless choreographs and grooms the movie to death, suffocating with precision. Facing the abundance of conceits that make up the source material, a manga by Santa Inoue that ran from 1997 to 2005, Sono responds with a stultified literalism—the Zack Snyder school of comic-book adaptation.

Never straying far from its fluorescent palette and omnipresent drum machine, the film makes a curiously inert spectacle. What begins as an impressive display of production values quickly settles into a familiar pattern, with Sono’s camera roving his soundstage like a goldfish in a bowl. It’s not immediately apparent whether his failure is one of imagination or conviction, but the result is the same in either case: a hermetic seal that encasing the action as if under plastic.

In all fairness, there’s flashes of genuine wit and weirdness throughout, but they’re few and far enough between that most of the time Sono’s pastiche makes Tarantino look like James Joyce. Too often he reaches for idiosyncrasy and instead comes up with mere gaudiness.

Around Brooklyn

See More

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY