The most extreme 108 minutes in Japanese film history? - that's what they said about Distraction (Destruction) Babies [ (Disutorakushon Beibizu- ディストラクション・ベイビーズ)] , the upcoming movie featuring Yuya Yagira, Masaki Suda, Nana Komatsu and Nijiro Murakami from the direction of Tetsuya Mariko.

The just released teaser looks promising though I am not particularly "sold" on the "extreme" description. Well, teasers can either excite or disappoint anyway. As usual, Yagira fills up the screen - and this time with menace and the use of "distraction" which is also reported to be a mixture of words to deliver a unique movie title.

Aside from the acting duel between Suda and Yagira, I want to see how Nijiro Murakami interact with Yagira since many think of Murakami as the younger version of Shota Sometani, and everyone knows that Sometani and Yagira are two of the youngest Japanese actors to ever receive recognition abroad. Oh, and they just added Sosuke Ikematsu to the cast [ Which makes this another movie with Suda and Ikematsu, together. They are now the main actors in the 2016 Death Note movie ]

 

They certainly look great together - Yuya Yagira and his younger brother in the movie, Nijiro Murakami!

I want to start the discussion with Destruction [Distraction] Babies (Disutorakushon Beibizu- ディストラクション・ベイビーズ) on a rather different note...

While the historical samurai movie Gassoh has only been released in Japan and has joined a few film festivals in Asia, I was left with the impression that it did not do very well in terms of box office results. But one thing was very clear - the intense acting showdown between lead stars Yuya Yagira and Koji Seto was settled with a resounding victory for Yagira.

Don Brown at the Asahi Shimbun delivered the verdict...

The promotional materials and headlining cast for “Gassoh” might suggest a limp piece about dishy young men brooding and prancing about in costumes, but that is mercifully far from the case.

Its three protagonists do represent certain archetypes: Kiwamu (Yuya Yagira) is the zealous and manly hunk; Masanosuke (Koji Seto) is the pouty and sensitive pretty boy, and Teijiro (Amane Okayama) is the homely and awkward voice of reason

All three of the leads deliver solid performances, but Yagira deserves special mention for instilling Kiwamu with a brooding masculinity, a quality few actors in his age bracket can pull off. After shooting to fame by winning the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actor award for Koreeda Hirokazu's “Nobody Knows” in 2004 at the age of 12, he struggled with personal and professional crises in his late adolescence, but has since rebounded to become a versatile scene-stealer in films like Lee Sang-il's 2013 “Unforgiven” remake and Isao Yukisada's “Pink and Gray” (another film I subtitled recently), which receives its world premiere in Busan next month. [ read more ]

With that, how can anyone who follows the buzz on Yuya Yagira get more excited? [ read our review of Gassoh here ]

Of course, with another acting showdown - this time, Yagira is sharing the big screen with Masaki Suda, Nijiro Murakami and Nana Komatsu in Tetsuya Mariko's 4th full-length feature, Distraction Babies.

Reports have it that Mariko asked for Yagira (he will play Yasuyoshi/Taira Ashihara) to take on the lead role since "He is one of the few actors with an enigmatic presence" and that he was cast "precisely because the role is difficult". For Suda (his movie role coincidentally is named Yuya Kitahara), the casting news is said to be "one of his biggest acting breaks". 

Tetsuya Mariko is somewhat unknown to me, so I started doing some research about his previous movies, and was happy to note that his film, Yellow Kid, has been compared to Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" and Shinya Tsukamoto's "Tokyo Fist" by J-Film Pow-Wow:

Yes, "Yellow Kid" is definitely an underdog story. This is true not only for Tamura but for Hattori as well; but Tetsuya Mariko, who previously directed segments in the omnibus films "Reckless" and "Lush Life", plays with our expectations of the underdog boxer genre right from the start. Instead of the scrappy street fighter who becomes a star formula that powered the "Rocky" franchise Mariko gives us something more complex. If I must find thematic equivalents to other boxing films I would put "Yellow Kid" in the same camp as Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" or Shinya Tsukamoto's "Tokyo Fist". While Mariko's vision isn't as explosive or dark as those two classics "Yellow Kid" shares their themes of what happens to a life that has violence at its center. What happens when it's your fists and not your brains that do the decision-making? Mariko, who also wrote the screenplay for "Yellow Kid", adds an interesting philosophical query to these questions. though. - [ read more ]

What's relevant about Yellow Kid to Destruction Babies is the issue of violence. 

Yagira's character - Taira Ashihara - is prone to violence. Perhaps because there is no one to challenge him in the small seaport town of Mitsuhama (located in the western part of Matsuyama), which he calls home, he decided to leave and stay at Matsuyama's downtown. 

Yuya Kitahara (Masaki Suda) becomes interested in Taira Ashihara. They go on a violent streak against people on the street. The two young men then steal a car. They head out of town with Nana (Nana Komatsu) who was in the car when they stole it. Meanwhile, younger brother Shota comes to Matsuyama to find Taira. [ source ]

I can sense the anticipation in this movie and with such an impressive cast, I am ready for some really heart-wrenching scenes, very violent fights and perhaps even a tragic ending. There is no need to sugar coat this movie since there are no #deadfisheyes here.

Destruction Babies is slated for release Summer 2016. 

Official Website | Casting News | The Films of Tetsuya Mariko

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