The scene that engulfed the Ryerson Theatre on Thursday night was one of sheer adrenaline-fueled excitement. Probably the most eccentric portion of TIFF each year, Midnight Madness really kicked off the festivities with a buzzing sense of chaos in the area. To begin the night, Colin Geddes, international programmer for TIFF, introduced the audience to the movie’s star, Young Dais, an actor and popular rapper from the J-Rap group NORTH COAST BAD BOYZ. Before starting the movie, Dais freestyled in English. As he left the stage, he reminded the technicians controlling the movie to make sure to turn the sound up loud, so as to get the full experience of the movie. What came next was two hours of pure insanity.

Tokyo Tribe, created by Shion Sono, the director who won last year’s Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award for Why Don’t You Go Play In Hell?, is a movie that is difficult to accurately label. Set in a post-apocalyptic Japan, Tokyo Tribe is a hip-hop musical extravaganza that showcases the various different gangs that run the streets of Tokyo, each one more barbaric than the next. If it doesn’t sound ridiculous enough already, the story is about how the gangs in Tokyo join forces in order to overthrow the most powerful gang, run by their particularly brutish leader, Buppa. Buppa is convinced that penis size has a direct connection to who should get to run Tokyo, and therefore the other gangs must stop him before him and his evil son eat everyone (quite literally) as proof of their superiority.

Lacking even a somewhat acceptable plot, it is very much understood that Tokyo Tribe is purely for entertainment value. But, despite this, I can’t help but compare Tokyo Tribe to Sono’s last film, Why Don’t You Go Play In Hell? While Tokyo Tribe is filmed in a very unique and stylized manner, and has the ability to keep the audience entertained throughout, Why Don’t You Go Play In Hell? is all that plus more. The zany humour, surprising plot twists, and interesting character development that were present in Sono’s last film are completely absent in his latest work.

However, Tokyo Tribe is laden with elaborate sets, fantastic costume design, and most of all, two hours worth of the heaviest beats and rhymes. Unfortunately, the cutesy humour from Sono’s previous film is replaced with harsh and weirdly sexist jokes, in a failed attempt to be funny. Tokyo Tribe is a movie you want to like, yet feel morally obligated not to.

Verdict: Would not watch again, but would certainly buy the soundtrack.