by Lawrence Garcia Film

The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio | Takashi Miike

July 19, 2017

For anyone who missed The Mole Song: Undercover Agent—Takashi Miike’s first adaptation of Noboru Takahashi’s manga series, Mogura no Uta—the opening minutes of its sequel don’t fill in the blanks much. Sans any context, Reiji Kikukawa (Toma Ikuta) dangles, naked, from a cage—one carried by a helicopter that’s traveling at full speed through the skies of Tokyo. A record-scratch and a freeze-frame suggest the opportunity for Miike to catch us up, but instead we get some hasty, convoluted backstory, with editing patterns cranked to 11, all packed into five minutes.

Things slow down once The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio’s main story (centered around a human trafficking ring) and its various players are brought into focus. There’s newly minted police chief Kabuto, a hardline yakuza-hater; the Sukiya-kai, Japan’s most powerful yakuza clan; and the Dragon Skulls, a Chinese gang that’s taken in a number of rogue yakuza members. Mixing zany action, cartoonish violence and bawdy humor, Miike’s film tracks Reiji’s bumbling, sex-fueled (sex-frustrated?) misadventures. The mix is enjoyable and at the same time downright exhausting, depending largely on one’s taste for ridiculous genre excess and Ikutawa’s committed antics. No matter what one’s predilections, though, with Miike, one thing is certain: There will be more.

Published as part of New York Asian Film Festival 2017 | Dispatch 3.