Mr. Towelhead takes on this monstrosity of a weird movie. Its a rough ride, no doubt about it, but is the movie at least good? All images belong to Takashi Miike (Director) and Media Blasters (Publisher in USA), and we’ll use them for educational purposes.
Mr. Towelhead reviews:
ICHI THE KILLER
Ichi the Killer is a 2001, controversial, japanese gangster horror film directed by Takashi Miike, written by Sakichi Sato. The thing is based on a manga by Hideo Yamamoto. The genre is horror, gore and weird. Tada! I guess you could count this movie as Trash as well.
So the idea behind is to make the weirdest, bizarrest, yakuzaest, goriest movie ever. And they succeed in that. There is a story behind it, but for the most its really that, gore for the sake of gore.
I present to you, the protagonist…
… So yes, Ichi is far from heroic, good, let lone sane.
There actually IS a story behind this monstrosity, and its kind of understandable (if you care about it). But really between all the gore and strange situations its not like you will care.
* SPOILERS *
If you care to know, from what I understood the story is: An old dude wants to take revenge on the yakuza gang and gets a series of events in motion so that Ichi, the “protagonist” kills the “antagonist”-leader of the yakuza gang. A ton of blood and gore later things get slightly out of hand. Frustrated by the deviation from the original plan the old dude commits suicide. Tada! Ah, Japanese Movies. :D
* SPOILER END *
Things never turn out as planned…
… that’s a sad reality the movie will mock you with. :)
Even within the settings of a gore-fest the movie does not follow a clear nor heroic formula. There are no good guys, or bad guys, only a bunch of crazy murderers, killing and torturing left and right until they finally get together and kill each other off.
Once you are o.k. with the fact that you are into a gore-fest (with occasional nudity and implied sex/rape scenes), once you fist-pumped the movie, chest-splammed, etc., once you cool the movie isn’t that bad. Things make some sort of sense, and for the most you’ll be marginally entertained between one gore scene to the next.
The protagonist is an emotionally unstable dude (Nao Ömori) who is a cry-baby until he goes berserker and murders everything around him while aroused and crying. Nao’s performance is out of this world, you could really think he’s a bit off himself. However the antagonist, the gang leader (Tadanobu Asano) also plays an oddball, crazed SM and convincingly so. Poor guys though, I can imagine they weren’t able to just go home and call it a day after work. Any way.
The movie concentrates on the bad guy…
… fortunately Tadanobu drives the story forward like a good antagonists should.
The CG (computer generated images) is really bad and you’ll be able to tell right away when you see it. Other times the props and special effects are impressive (revolting better said). The movie also shows really f* up torture and sexual situations. Like the protagonist ejaculating after killing someone and so on. What I’m trying to say is: Be prepared to go way over your daily dose of gore and perversion. Oddly enough you wont see any genitals, because I mean, Iu! that would be gross. Right?
Don’t be expecting Shakespeare or anything, but still the characters do say oddly funny and gangsta’ cool quotes. Specially the antagonist who just says seemingly idiotic things while searching for the ultimate thrill. Its just so ungallantly when they say things like: “I am so excited that I am afraid of myself” and B.S. like that, without any regards to, basically anything. Picture the bad guy of a movie saying: “Hello there, I am the bad guy and I do bad things”. But from the lips of Tadanobu (antagonist) you’d believe it.
In a nutshell Ichi the Killer is one of the most bizarre gore-fest movie you’ll see that still makes some sort of sense (with an intricate story). It has a mix of really well done gore scenes and a few really bad CG elements. The title of the movie (and the DVD box) do hint, very clearly at what kind of a movie you are getting yourself into.
If you are faint of heart, well, Ichi may not be for you…
Mr. Towelhead is… without words:
10 / 10
If you fan of unconventional gore, consider Ichi your homework to do.
1 / 10
If you normal human being with no particular interest in gore. DON’T watch it.
P.D. Ichi the Killer is disturbing, disgusting and well done in that regard. It pisses on clichés and basically glorifies violence. So if that’s not your thing. Be aware. On that note I rather not give my personal opinion. But a humble suggestion would be: They should’ve ditched the CG (which was probably not cheap) and stick to the really cool props and special effects.