Ichi the Killer

"Essential"

Ichi the Killer Review


Twenty minutes into Takashi Miike's latest, visceral opus Ichi the Killer, I had to stop the film in fear of going mad from the mayhem I was witnessing. A violent opera of sadism filled with mutilated yakuza, masochistic prostitutes, and innocent victims caught up in a swath of incendiary revenge, Ichi the Killer is nothing short of a masterpiece -- and a challenging one.

Takashi Miike is no stranger to producing disturbing, genre-busting, and gut-wrenching cinematic treats like the Dead or Alive series, Audition, and Visitor Q. Watching a Miike film is akin to tossing the works of Billy Wilder, John Ford, Werner Fassbinder, Clive Barker, and David Cronenberg into a blender on puree mode. Then throw the mix against the wall, wipe it up with a sponge, and squeeze it onto fresh celluloid.

If you want a story, the synopsis of Ichi the Killer is about as complicated as Sadism for Dummies. Based on the popular manga by Hideo Yamamoto, Ichi the Killer is a vivid tale of retribution and revenge set within the yakuza underworld. After his yakuza boss goes missing, Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano, the Asian version of Johnny Depp) uses his sadistic methods of interrogation to find the boss's assumed killers. Working his way through underworld connections - with the use of hot oil, piercing needles, and large hooks - Kakihara discovers his boss's demise came at the hands of Ichi (Nao Omori), a mysterious figure that slices individuals into numerous bloody pieces with razor-sharp blades strapped to his boots. As Kakihara draws closer, Ichi turns the tables on the hunter and brings his own vengeance, served up sushi style.

While Miike has been down the hitman/burned-out cop/vicious killer road before, he has impressively reworked and revised the genre. The character of Ichi, a disturbed individual emotionally manipulated and fueled by hate via programmed memories of a girl's rape, stands as one of the strongest cases of Freudian, sexual confusion ever imprinted on the silver screen.

The best part of the film is its realistic gore. Whenever Ichi slices open a throat with his razor-sharp boots, the blood sprays like a broken water main, painting all corners of the room in crimson fury. By mixing in CG elements, Ichi literally slices people in half. Gore aside, Asano and Omori are impressive actors, with Miike maintaining an omnipresent sense of danger and suspense throughout the film's duration. Highly recommended, but be forewarned, it'll take a strong stomach.

Aka Koroshiya 1. Screened at the 45th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival.

Cut himself shaving.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th July 2002

Budget: $1.4M

Production compaines: Omega Project, Omega Micott Inc., Excell Film Agentur

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Kakihara, as Ichi, as Jijii, as Karen (as Alien Sun), as Suzuki (as Sabu), as Takayama, as Fujiwara, Yoshiki Arizono as Nakazawa, Kiyohiko Shibukawa as Ryu Long (as Kee), Satoshi Niizuma as Inoue, as Jirô / Saburô, as Funaki, Hiroyuki Tanaka as Kaneko, Moro Morooka as Coffee Shop Manager, Houka Kinoshita as Sailor's Lover

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Advertisement
Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

The Secret Life of Pets Movie Review

The Secret Life of Pets Movie Review

From the team behind Despicable Me and Minions, this high-energy adventure makes up for its...

Gods of Egypt Movie Review

Gods of Egypt Movie Review

With a massive scale and a digital cast of thousands, this ancient Egyptian romp tries...

The Conjuring 2 Movie Review

The Conjuring 2 Movie Review

Continuing on from the 2013 hit, this sequel blends fact and fiction to follow real-life...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.