Crows Zero Review

“I’ve slowly begun to understand what it means to have comrades.”

Ahh, good old Takashi Miike, the one director who can be reliably unpredictable.  Personally, I find some of his films overrated, but there’s no denying that the viewing experience will be memorable.  This time around, I decided to go for a film where high schoolers beat the shit out of each other, in a school where students beating the shit out of each other is the norm.  Crows Zero.

The main plot focuses on two individuals, Genji and Serizawa.  Genji, a newcomer to the school, has plans on taking over and becoming king of Suzuran High School.  His motivation lies in part with his father, who also attempted to do the same thing in his youth, but failed.  No one has successfully become king of the school.  Serizawa on the other hand is just a naturally gifted fighter who also plans to take on the challenge of ruling the school, but not much backstory is given to him at the start.

The plot is ludicrous of course, and teachers aren’t ever really around, and student’s aren’t ever shown to be learning anything in class.  But I suppose that’s all part of the message, a warning of schools falling into such a pitiful state, filled with nothing but students destined to grown into violent yakuza gangsters.  On the other hand, an anti-violence message comes into the film at times, mainly regarding Genji.  He is told that he cannot get class leaders on his side through use of force alone, like what Serizawa always does.  Instead, he gains followers and respect via other means, such as trying to get a student a girlfriend, but ends up getting him a new pair of pants and underwear instead (just watch the movie).  In another case, he gets involved in a one vs. many fight where he is vastly outnumbered, but earns the respect of the opposing leader not by beating him, but by showing how much fight he has in him.  Even in a violent chaotic world, non-violent tactics can work to bring about order and leadership.

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That being said, there’s still plenty of fighting and ass-kicking within this film, to the point of being cartoonish at times.  With the exception of a few moments, the fights aren’t anything to write home about, compared to Tony Jaa, Jackie Chan, and Raid films anyway.  They’re decent, but nothing memorable.  The main reason to watch this film is more for the characters and the story rather than for the action.  But because action is a centerpiece of this film, I gotta mark it down a point for that.

Overall, I can recommend it.  I heard the sequel is better.

Score: 3/5

“Man I envy you guys.  Driving down life’s road at full throttle.  No pretensions.”

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