Film Review: Tokyo Tribe is A Long, Epic-Filled Rap Rattle

By Eder Guzman

The outlandish hip-hop action movie “Tokyo Tribe” was shown on July 4th, 2015 at the Walter Reade Theater at The Film Society at Lincoln Center. A world where rap replaces arguments, and enhances solidarity as well as violence, there are scores to be settled and territory to be fought over. It has over the top characters, and expensive set design, with MC Shota Sometani (winner of the 2015 Screen International rising star award) in the lead. He was in attendance for the New York premier, and took a few questions from the audience. It begins 2 boys setting off firecrackers. Dilapidated streets, filled with homeless people and small food vendors, and a DJ granny rapping aggressively about the “World coming to end”.

They rap about life in the neighborhood, about how down and dirty life can be. All of Tokyo is a battlefield of different gangs, with shibuya and jack owning some territory. DJ granny providing the beats to all the gangs, and they tell everyone how they run things. There is one gang that is all about peace, love and hip hop, and they lament about how it used to be back in the old days. There was never a division between gangs, but that remains explanation unexplored. Meanwhile, a bunch of girls get into a van headed for Buppatown, run by Buppa, who owns all of Tokyo. We see he really does own Tokyo, with his flagrant “Fuck the World” sign in front of his mansion. We meet Buppa, Nkoi Buppas’ son, who has his room filled with slaves sitting still, mimicking furniture.

The girls are brought for sex, with one girl challenging Buppa and the rest of his entourage to fight. They instead send her to a whore house, never to see her again hopefully. Buppa is then introduced to Jada and Sunmi, who work for the high priest, Buppa’s boss. He is looking for his missing daughter in Tokyo, his pride and joy also has the best pussy in the world. Buppa send his gang, the Waru, to fight every gang in search of the girl. They rap the epilogue, as a huge fight goes down in Buppatown.

Meanwhile, the peace loving gang go fight Buppa and his family at the mansion, with all of them dying by being sucked into a razer-bladed giant fan, including his wife and daughter. We see the Waru defeated, with some awesome scrotum filled sight gags, as the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, for the enjoyment of the audience. Santa Inoue, created the original manga, and he along with director Shion Sono produced this live action film adaptation.

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