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Sukiyaki Western Django Review


Very 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."

Continue reading: Sukiyaki Western Django Review

Battle Royale Review


Very Good
Consider a parallel world at the dawn of the new millennium. Unemployment is rampant, national morale is low and the country's youth are unruly and dangerous. The government's solution: Banish one school class per year to a deserted island and force them to kill each other. Three days, no rules, one winner.

If you've never heard of this twisted action thriller a film that appears to have strong potential for box-office success it's simply due to American sensitivities. Since its release in 2000, the Japanese Battle Royale has been an acclaimed cult hit in its native country... but for obvious reasons of content, chances for American distribution hover somewhere between slim and none.

Continue reading: Battle Royale Review

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Sukiyaki Western Django Movie Review

Sukiyaki Western Django Movie Review

Takeshi Miike's spaghetti western mash-up, Sukiyaki Western Django, is a mystery wrapped in a riddle...

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