The title of this film is just a lie, I was severely disappointed with the lack of porn or even porn stars, but the violence did make up for it I guess. Toshiaki Toyoda’s debut feature is a brutal whimsy about underground Shibuya and its inhabitants: gangs, hustlers, skateboarders and a whole lot of leather jackets. Our hero is Arano, a tall, mysterious and downright rude ‘bad-ass’ type (you know the kind, I usually cross the road to avoid any confrontation with people like this). When we first meet him he’s doing his usual ‘bass-ass’ thing; knocking into people, pulling an angry face, carrying a big bag (it probably contains weapons because that’s all bad-asses own). He spots a Yakuza member saying something rather impolite, oh those bad-mannered Yakuza, when will they learn hey? Well, now actually. Arano stabs the Yakuza, steps over his squirming body and into the gang boss’ office while all the rest of the gang are stood gawping, asking, “Who the hell is this guy?”
So the Yakuza then kill Arano because that’s what would obviously happen next… Oh wait, it’s that other possible outcome, the Yakuza decide to take on Arano to run with the gang because he’s just so bad-ass (should have figured). Turns out the Boss is a little gloomy as one of his members’ (Kamijo) date club isn’t doing so well. Business is bad and Kamijo will do anything to bring in the yen and as Arano is obviously a nutter who hates the Yakuza, who could be a better choice to accompany him on a treacherous, money-making rage? This will obviously not turn out bad (where is my sarcasm font!?)
The story from here gets a little lost; something about a stash of drugs that they steal from some foreigners and then there’s the rival gang that wear ridiculous-coloured suits (so, typical Yakuza problems then). The focal point of the story is the uncomfortable relationship between Kamijo and Arano as the latter continues to foam at the mouth with manic rage and his internal struggle regarding his disgust of Yakuza. Aside from the crude bloodshed and random orgies, there are some instances of revelation and almost beauty as Arano betrays his beliefs. In one scene he is stood waiting hours in an alleyway for drugs, money or something else ‘gangsta’, Arano looks up into the dark and a shower of knives fall down on him. The blades turn into raindrops as they hit him and soak him, leaving him feeling cleansed.
Pornostar was an absolute joy to watch; over-the-top with ridiculous characters and plenty of violence, who doesn’t love that? Toyoda is very able to connect with his audience though he has made the violent-director rookie error: He believes he can be the next Tarantino (this may not be true, but I have decided that it is the only way to explain this movie). If you’re a bit of an oddball with a love for manga and violence then you should watch Pornostar. Don’t however then go and attempt to make your own movie because you will NOT be the next Tarantino. When will people learn?