Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sukiyaki Western Django

Foreign Film from Japan
[the movie is in English though]
Genre - Action/Western
Year Released - 2007
Running Time - 98 minutes (even though the disc states 121 minutes)
Directed by Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer, etc - also the director of the Masters of Horror (Season One) episode - Imprint - which was banned from Showtime)
Written by Takashi Miike and Masa Nakamura (who also wrote Dororo, which I haven't seen yet)
Cast Includes:
Hideaki Ito
Yusuke Iseya
Koichi Sato
Teruyuki Kagawa
Quentin Tarantino (yep, good 'ole Quentin)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
In a strange land where East meets West, two rival gangs - the Heike Reds and the Genji Whites - are locked in a deadly feud over a fortune in gold.
A lone hero comes to town, meets the gangs various victims, and tries to restore order to the chaos.

Yusuke Iseya ~ Leader of the Genji Whites


Review:
Inspired by Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, which in turn inspired Sergio Leone's Fist Full of Dollars [with Clint Eastwood] and Sergio Corbucci's Django, we now have Takashi Miike's tribute to the Spaghetti Western genre.

Gun vs Sword, in a stylistic showdown between Yusuke Iseya & Hideaki Ito


Set in Nevada, during the 1800's, Quentin Tarantino starts off the movie [acting horribly, as always! I mean, why do people continue to stick him in front of the camera, rather than behind it? And I don't even know the deal behind the awful accent he uses in this movie!] Sorry, I apologize for my brief tangent there. . .

The Heike Reds
Now, where was I?
Oh yes, Quentin starts off the movie by telling us a story - what that story is, I am not entirely sure, as it was hard to get past his awful acting/accent ~ seriously though, I was actually very distracted by Miike's phenomenal cinematography. The background that Miike used, behind Quentin, was so cool - it was like a scene directly from a story book! You get that a lot throughout this movie - Fantastic scenery/imagery. Miike uses such bright, wonderful, and vivid colors throughout the movie. The fact that this movie is so visually magnificent, is what saves it - in my opinion.

Just a great shot of Miike's Western Town

I, personally, found the movie to be a tad slow paced, and it jumped around way too much.
I actually got confused at points, as there was no real character development/establishment.
As for the acting, I am not sure why Miike chose to have his Japanese actors speak English - bizarre, if you ask me, but once you get used to their rough dialect, the acting is actually quite good.
Yusuke Iseya played the leader of the Genji Whites, and he was my favorite character - I mean he wore a sword on one hip and a gun on the other - how awesome is that?!? :-)
Both Teruyuki Kagawa (who played the town Sheriff) and Koichi Sato (who played the leader of the Heike Reds) were comic relief characters.
Also we, of course, are given Miike's trademark, stylistic shots!
[I still say that the crossbow bolt shot through the gaping gunshot wound is fantastic!] :-)

I wanted to rate this movie higher, I did, however the confusing storyline really makes for a one-time watch only [or possibly a 2nd viewing, down the road. . .] :-)
The movie is definitely worth watching once though, for Miike's cinematography alone!

Here's the Trailer:

Jason

10 comments:

Rev. Phantom said...

Yup, pretty much. It's worth seeing for the visuals alone, but it is kind of mess in some ways. On the other hand, I still found it very entertaining. Very good and honest review.

thebonebreaker said...

Thanks Rev! :-)

You are correct though - it is definitely entertaining!

J

the jaded viewer said...

I gotta watch this movie. Miike is totally nuts.

I've watched all of Miike's movies so I have to check this one out.

Andrew Simon said...

Good review, mate!

Ironically, I'm in the process of writing my own review for the flick, and I almost mirror your sentiments. I enjoyed it a little bit more, and I honestly put the bloody subtitles on to fully understand what the hell they were trying to say.

But you're right - sword to one side and a gun to the other - totally awesome!

thebonebreaker said...

Jaded Viewer,

If you are already a Miike fan, then I am sure that you will definitely enjoy this flick! :-)

Let me know, after you have seen it.

J

thebonebreaker said...

Andrew,

Thanks man - I'll be looking forward to checking out your review as well :-)

I thought about putting the subtitles on [Subtitles do not bother me in the least] yet I figured that perhaps there was a point to Miike making it the way he did, so I just figured that I would watch it the way he intended it to be watched.

If I do decide to watch it again, to clarify parts of my confusion, I think that I will watch it with the Subtitles on.

J

scary film reviewer said...

i've been meaning to see this one, as the style of cinematography really looks good to me.

thebonebreaker said...

The cinematography is superb!

Stop back by and let me know your thoughts, after you have seen it.

J

Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

Yet another flick I been meaning to see that I still have not gotten around to picking up. I love Takashi Miike and I love spaghetti westerns (Once Upon A Time In The West still has one of my all-time favorite scores of any film ever).

thebonebreaker said...

William,

In my time getting to know you, through your reviews, I can definitely see you enjoying this one enough to review yourself!
[and if that is indeed the case, I will be looking forward to it!] :-)

J