Title: Destruction Babies

Also known as:
Disutorakushon beibîzu (Original title)

Year: 2016

Genre: Comedy / Thriller

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 108 min

Director: Tetsuya Mariko

Writer: Tetsuya Mariko & Kôhei Kiyasu

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4912452/

18 year old Taira goes on a fighting spree across a city. He simply gets into fights at random, with strangers, and does not care if he will win or not. Eventually a bratty kid decides to join him on his quest, but he inserts his own agenda into it and all bets are off.

Our thoughts:
When the first quote you read about a movie is "the most extreme 108 minutes in Japanese cinema history", obviously you'll be curious. Watching a trailer or reading into it, it doesn't take long to understand that the quote doesn't mean literally "the most extreme" as in the sickest or most over-the-top, but that this is a lot more grounded piece. I perhaps wouldn't describe it with the same words, but instead "violent" is a very appropriate word.

"Destruction Babies" starts with a younger brother witnessing, from a distance, a gang attacking his older brother. Then we get to follow the brother, Taira, as he gets back up, walks away, and begins an odd mission of starting fights in another town. This happens right around the time of a coming of age festival, which serves as the only real backstory as to what Taira is doing. Taira loses more fights than he wins, but that doesn't seem to stop him. If he can get a second chance at a lost fight, he'll happily jump right back into it fists firsts. This catches the attention of a weird brat who later joins Taira, but his intentions are different, and so are his targets (they mostly consist of women). The random fights escalates into kidnapping, and Taira doesn't seem to care. Meanwhile, his younger brother tries to find him.

The movie is based in the now. It doesn't dive into much backstory, and it is instead revealed slowly through how the characters act and what they say. Motivations are never entirely clear, but there is a lot to discover about what's going on in their minds. The movie is driven by angst and violence, yet it never becomes about just that. With the help of some humor, the movie never becomes nihilistic for the hell of it. It's fierce and harsh, but also a bit... euphoric? You are watching a teenager who has stopped caring, who decides to just act on impulses, and it's a bit satisfying.

It's violent though. Very violent. The punches actually mean something here. It's not about cool choreography, loud effects or a bunch of gore. Every punch feels real. It sounds like smacking meat around, and that's exactly what is going on. If someone bleeds, you taste the blood. The movie focuses so much on these fights that you'd think they'd become boring, but that's when they bring out the next psycho who wants to fight women and ends up kidnapping one. With that comes another aspect as well: the rebels become infamous with internet success.

There is a lot to digest in the movie, but it's important to not over-think it. I don't mean that there is no meaning. What I mean is that it's a brutal movie and you don't need to dig deep to find parallels to the real world. It is a movie about a kid who just doesn't care anymore, who just goes out to destroy, and unfortunately it seems very easy to understand what he is going through in this world we live in.

Parts of "Destruction Babies" becomes repetitive, but it seems to serve its purpose. My opinion of the movie halfway through it was very different from my opinion after it was over (in a positive way). Take from that what you will. If you want to watch a movie where life is often reduced to a meaty punching bag then I believe this will do just that. I certainly enjoyed "Destruction Babies", but it is extremely violent and angry, while retaining some goofy yet bleak Japanese comedy.

Positive things:
- Realistic, powerful fights.
- Brutal, but somehow entertaining.
- Great cast! Yûya Yagira nails the no-fucks-given role.

Negative things:
- Can get a bit repetitive.

Gore: 2/5
Nudity: 0/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 2.5/5

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