All signs in the first fifteen minutes of Sion Sono's mischievous Tokyo Tribe point to it being an absolute trainwreck of a film. Feeling like a relic dug up from an early 2000s over-produced hip-hop album, the opening of this oddball musical plays out, weirdly, like the first half of Batman & Robin. That is, if Batman & Robin spent its teenage years getting really into Dr Dre and N.W.A. Trying so hard to convince you that it means business, Tokyo Tribe's opening is awkward, cringe-worthy and entirely uncomfortable to sit through.

But then, something amazing happens.

Around twenty minutes into the film, Tokyo Tribe's narrative about warring factions in a dystopian future Japan suddenly clicks. Worries of the movie being a forced, trying too hard hip-hop inspired ghetto flick give way to reveal a ludicrously ambitious and anarchic Japanese rap opera; and it's as campy, silly and through-and-through fun as that description makes it sound. By the time you're introduced to Riki Takeuchi's crime boss Buppa - whose opening scene sees him mugging to the camera and chewing the scenery in front of a "Fuck da world" inscribed golden globe - you start to get the inkling that Tokyo Tribe might just be something truly special.

Technically incredible, the movie's cinematography is particularly inspired; boasting colourful and exciting compositions, at times it's impressive to see just how much Sion Sono manages to pack into the frame without letting a scene devolve into an over-stuffed mess. This kinetic and vibrant picture can hit you with a perfectly choreographed fight scene with tens of people and transition effortlessly into an intimate solo rap number all within the space of the same shot. With such a keen eye for detail, Sion Sono's confident direction makes watching this vibrant manga adaptation a truly memorable cinematic experience.

But to be honest, if you're watching Tokyo Tribe you won't be sticking around for its technical proficiency. In fact, you'll probably be too busy grinning with glee watching characters so evil they keep severed fingers in their cigar cases, so outlandishly violent that they have their mobile phones shaped into guns, and so ludicrously extravagant that they have chandeliers operating as the headlights of their limos, to even notice its technical prowess. Moving from one ridiculous and outrageous set-piece to the next, Tokyo Tribe will have you captivated with its need to constantly one-up itself. With each new scene, Sion Sono finds new ways to take his already absurd rap opera to bigger and better heights, and it's this assured mentality that makes the film just a pure joy to watch.

But, sadly, for as fun as Tokyo Tribe can be, there's simply too many recurring flaws that unfortunately dampen what could have been a new camp classic. The film's biggest sin is that it allows for an uncomfortable and adolescent air of rampant sexism to permeate through the entire picture, which regrettably renders some of the more outlandish scenes more juvenile and tasteless than they should have been. Although the film is big on male bravado - to the point of parody even- its depiction and sexualisation of women never quite feels as tongue in cheek or as self-aware, and it ultimately diminishes an otherwise hugely enjoyable picture.

Even worse, the film's juvenility is indicative of a paradox that haunts the entire Tokyo Tribe experience; the tactless approach in one sense allows the picture to indulge in some of its most hilarious and exciting set-pieces, but its never-faulting childishness means the same immaturity finds its way into places it shouldn't, resulting in some of the film's most exasperating scenes. Because it exudes gratuity from every pore, Tokyo Tribe inevitably over-steps boundaries that might drive some audiences away, but it thankfully never gets bad enough to completely negate the picture's high points. Even then though, the constant extravagance and bravado can become overbearing even when it's done right, especially with the film clocking in at an overlong two hours.

So while the film provides an exhilarating, silly and exciting experience for the most part, you're more likely to come away feeling more frustrated at the movie's failings because of just how close Sion Sono comes to delivering a definitive Japanese cult classic. It's still worth seeing, especially if you've got a group of friends who'll appreciate this type of bizarre kitsch, but you'll no doubt be haunted by a resounding feeling that Tokyo Tribe should have been less disposable than it ultimately is.