Shota witnesses the beating of his older brother Taira, by a gang of local delinquents. Soon after the fight is broken up, Taira leaves both his hometown and his teenage brother behind. Taira is no innocent victim however as he has an unstable mindset and fits of blind rage, he attacks random people just for fun. Wandering through the city streets, he begins his night of rampage by provoking petty but violent attacks on men. Many of his victims are more than capable of defending themselves, as he creates enemies out of local Yakuza and high school boys. Shota travels to the city and searches for his brother, the only family he has left. Whilst Taira gains a supporter in Yuya, who uses him to beat upon people without fear. A tale of a broken family, unprovoked violence, murderous rage and sickening brutality. Destruction Babies is not for the faint hearted, but is certainly a film worth watching.
What began as a slice of life film, about one high schooler who worries about his older brothers’ life. Soon spiralled into an unrestrained violent film, as Taira takes to the City and launches attacks on random people for no reason. With no explanation to how Taira developed such rage and violent streak, we are left only knowing that he is the only family left to Shota after the disappearance of their mother and death of their father. Clearly Taira is a disturbed individual, with many mental health and behavioural issues. His time in the City allows him to travel freely amongst the many back streets and alleyways, avoiding the authorities with ease. Jumping on top of strangers, not to rob them, but just to cause physical damage. Although he gets continuously beat down and sometimes left unconscious, Taira gets back up again and continues his assaults. After attacking some teenagers, he meets one that does not intervene to save his friends. The coward amongst his group, but who later clings to Taira in order to act freely and safely whilst attacking others. Ultimately “Destruction Babies”, is a look into the fine line of morality, where we draw the line of what is acceptable in society – mainly, acts of violence.
We begin with Shota, a teenage boy in high school. Whose only family left is his older brother Taira. The pair of boys are left to fend for themselves and now live in a loft, using tents and sleeping bags for bedding. A rough living condition for someone going to high school. Taira leaves the town shortly before the Coming of Age festival, a celebration in Japan for all young people who have just reached the adult age of 20. Taira should be taking part in this years celebration, by parading through the streets carrying a mobile shrine. Instead he forgoes the tradition and makes for the City, in order to create some havoc. This rebellion could be seen as Taira not wanting to grow up and take responsibility as an adult. Instead continuing his life as a troubled delinquent. He is later joined by Yuya, much the same age as Shota, the teen admires Tairas’ violent streak. Yuya acts as a chauffeur, taking Taira to the best places for to mug, beat and publicly harass people. Through their actions, they meet Nana who they take hostage. Her addition to the duo changes drastically when she is put behind the wheel.
What else can I say, but there is a ton of violence in this film. The majority of it is physical fighting, scrapping around in alleyways and punching up a storm. Taira is a crazed young man, who can certainly fight but can take a lot of damage as well. His brutality is all too realistic, just like the fight choreography. Nothing looks over rehearsed, there is no flashy moves. Even the close up punches look real. Certainly no stunt doubles were used in this film and that subsequently gives even more praise to the actors for their work. This film stays true to the slice of life theme throughout, making everything as close to reality as possible. There are one or two murders also, even the Yakuza play a large role. However its the duo of Taira and Yuya that are most wanted by the authorities for their crimes.
Destruction Babies was co-written by Kohei Kiyasu and indie Director, Tetsuya Mariko. This film even won the Prize for the Best Emerging Director at the Locarno Film Festival. One famous actors name caught my eye when I heard about this release, and that was Denden. A Japanese actor who has appeared in Cold Fish, The Land of Hope, Sake-Bomb, Yakuza Apocalypse and Lowlife Love. His role in Destruction Babies is as the local worker who keeps an eye on the two boys. A friend of their late father and work colleague of Taira. Our lead character Taira is played by Yuya Yagira, who will be playing the part of Toshiro Hijikata in the upcoming live action adaption of Gintama. He gave a superb and terrifying performance into playing the troubled character. Shota was played by Nijiro Murakami, who played the lead character Jinta in the live action Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day movie. Nijiiro brought forward a great performance, showing great concern and defiance surrounding his brother and his behaviour. Each one of the actors in this film all played unique roles, their talents showing why they were chosen to be a part of this film. Their acting brought the film to live and merged it with reality.
Bonus Features Include:
Cinema Talk event with mini live gig
Destruction Babies first made its way to London as part of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017. Screening at the ICA, Watershed, QUAD & Showroom Cinema, click on the link here to find out more – http://www.jpf-film.org.uk/films/destruction-babies For those of you that could not make the screenings and of course those that watched the cinema screening and loved the film so much, it shall be coming out on April 10th on both DVD & Blu-Ray. Certainly a film worth watching if you like violence and brotherly love.