Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Tadanobu Asano, Nao Omori, Shinya Tsukamoto
Original Release Date: 2001
Scores: Technical: 82, Story: 80, Acting: 82, Overall Score: 84
If you haven’t heard of the film, it’s directed by masterfully violent and disturbing Japanese director Takashi Miike, who’s directed such great weird films as Audition and Visitor Q. The main characters are Kakihara, a sadomasochistic Yakuza member with piercings into his cheeks that widen them (In one particularly splendid scene he blows smoke through the openings in his cheeks), and Ichi the Killer, a confused, psychotic, and constantly crying mad murderer hired to slaughter Kakihara’s gang boss and gang members. Basically everyone in this movie is a psycho, from Kakihara’s total insanity and sadomasochism to Ichi’s violent mood changes, from sobbing to brutal murder. Add to that that Ichi’s weapon of choice is a blade that comes out of his shoes that he uses to kick/slice people apart and the bizarre and gorey just don’t stop!
This is really a disturbing and violent film, though it’s never really totally serious, there’s always some over-the-top dark humor or inanity for viewers to giggle or gawk about (Like one memorable scene where Kakihara catches a punch in his widened mouth and bites the attacker’s skin off).
Eventually the two psychos clash, their benefactors, friends, and enemies all around, and blood and insanity ensue.
I’ve technically watched this one and a three half times, since I own it on DVD (Try to rent or buy the uncut version). The first time I saw it fully. Then three more times I attempted to get through it messed up out of my mind with my friends, failing on each try. Too much giggling and rewinding going on to complete any of the halves…Hehe.
P.S., this has like my favorite cover of any DVD I own. Simple and awesome portrait of Kakihara.
Undoubtedly this is another weird, surreal and hilariously violent film from Miike that is obviously not for everyone especially kids and “mainstream audiences” (i.e. most people). It is however, unique, and worth a rent if you like Japanese dark humor and comic book-like ultra violence.
-Review by Sanbud Tehrani