Playing at Fantasia 2022, July 25 6:35 PM at the Auditorium des diplômés de la SGWU (Théâtre Hall)
(Buy Tickets here)
Anybody not familiar with Takashi Miike’s The Mole Song trilogy might want to get all caught up before seeing The Mole Song FINAL (土竜の唄 FINAL). That’s because the last movie was made in 2016. Trying to remember why Reiji Kikukawa (Toma Ikuta) is undercover won’t be tough. He was kicked out of the police force because of the way he conducts himself, but secretly this disgrace was to give him a means in to infiltrate the Sukiya-kai, a ruthless yakuza organisation in the first film, and the Chinese Demon Skulls gang in the second.
One thing in common between movies is that we will see a nude Ikuta in the production. Usually, that’s at the start, and he has something to mask those bits, so not everyone has to avert their eyes.
With that warning out of the way, what’s presented is a high octane romp and adventure where Reiji attempts to climb up the ranks was not only difficult but also nearly life ending! After he’s earned Shuho Todoroki’s respect, he can subsequently try to get that one piece of evidence that will lock this ringleader up for good.
But he’s not the only character who makes a return to this series.
Anyone who doesn’t know who Issei Nekozawa (Takashi Okamura) is will be confused. Half his dialogue concerns making bad meow puns, and that’s part of this trilogy’s charm. They’re silly and satirical. Masaya is a rival to Reiji, and they end up in uncomfortable situations. Before they were opponents, but since they have to deal with another international band of thieves, things turn hairy when they team up to negotiate with the Italian mafia!
Ⓒ 2021 FUJI TELEVISION NETWORK / SHOGAKUKAN / JSTORM / TOHO / OLM
Ⓒ NOBORU TAKAHASH I / SHOGAKUKAN
In The Mole Song FINAL, we see everything this filmmaker is famous for–off the wall action, a kinetic performance by his performers and tons of dirty jokes that’d make City Hunter blush. Both are perverts, but to say Reiji is worse is quite the understatement! I’m honestly not sure who is number one, but those two take the cake for their mark on this genre.
Miike is able to keep this frenetic pace going for at least half the film, and he rarely gives audiences time to breathe before tossing Reiji into the next situation that he has to worm his way out of. The hilarity comes from the fact he’s often able to come out unscathed. Therefore, I’m led to believe that the delay between films is due to Ikuta needing time to recover from his performance and build the energy back up so he can use it up in the next movie. With this third outing, to see him keep it up is simply amazing, and I’m not referring to the first 15 minutes of the film!
Noboru Takahashi‘s manga is said to be more gonzo and raunchy. But ultimately, if movie-goers are too conservative, don’t like adult situations and toilet humour in their entertainment, then don’t see this film. But if you can handle all the above–and be a huge fan of this filmmaker’s vast range–then you’ll love this work!
I had to revisit the first two movies again instead of relying on the flashbacks to fully enjoy all the moments Kikukawa-kun faced. And all I can say is that you really have to be open-minded to the chaos Miike likes tossing into his work. I’m fairly sure this trilogy will be remembered for many years to come.
4 Stars out of 5