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Sukiyaki Western Django Review


Good
Takeshi Miike's spaghetti western mash-up, Sukiyaki Western Django, is a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. This Ramen on the Range is Miike's first American feature, perversely cast with Japanese actors in 99 percent of the roles and instructed to speak in contorted English, rendering most of the dialogue indecipherable; it takes some getting used to to hear line readings like "It's dah end da da road for youi." The other 1 percent of the cast is the rabid American film geek director Quentin Tarantino, clearly having the time of his life like a ticket to Disneyland. Tarantino is Ringo, a lonesome roads gunslinger, who sets the stage for the tale and speaks in an equally indecipherable western dialect that becomes even more obscure during a long spiel concerning Gion Shoja temple bells, with Tarantino inexplicably lapsing into a thick, flannel-tongued Toshiro Mifune accent halfway through his oration.

Ringo engages in some mighty fancy gunplay concerning a rattlesnake and an egg in front of a blatantly false campfire set that looks like it came out of the old kids' show Riders in the Sky. He then commences to tell the tale of a pale rider (Hideaki Ito) with a garish gun who appears through a howling Kurosawa haze in a western town lorded over by two rival clans -- the red-garbed Heike clan, led by the psychotic Kiyomori (Koicho Sato), who insists that everyone call him Henry, and the white-garbed Gengi clan, led by the cool, sleek, walking-manga illustration Yoshitsune (Yusuke Iseya). Before this cryptic Man With No Name can utter, "You going to come at me or whistle Dixie?" he commences to play one clan against the other, and soon bullets, bodies, and blood fly through the air like an in-progress Jackson Pollock painting. As the schizophrenic town sheriff sings at one point as the cast reloads, "I die. You die. She dies. He dies. We all die."

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Rasen Review


Grim
"Ringu" doesn't mean anything. It's simply a Japanese approximation of the sound a phone makes. I'm not sure what "Rasen," the sequel to Ringu means, but in America, it's a dried grape.

Hustled out the same year as the wildly successful Ringu, Rasen was only the first attempt at a follow-up sequel. It picks up where the original left off, focusing on the investigation into the bizarre deaths we thought we had figured out in the original. Surprise: There's no ghost or spirit, really. It's all a virus that makes you see terrible things before you die. (Never mind that you can avoid getting whacked if you show a videotape to someone else.)

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