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© stonerphonic 2008 - 2010

If "pure, unadulterated bullshit on a stick" had a blog page,
then it would probably look something like [this]. (Actual quote, stonerphonic's mother)

Friday, 4 June 2010

FILM REVIEW - Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)

Spaghetti Western? 
Sushi Western...

That's right, you're getting Leone and Corbucci with chopsticks. And for what its worth, it's not a bad deal to "take home" at all.


Most horror junkies are aware of the influential and inspiring work of Takashi Miike, the man who brought us such films as "One Missed Call", the banned from cable TV "Imprint", the disturbing "Visitor Q" and seminal "Ichi the Killer", to name a few.

Of note though is the fact that Miike has produced and directed scores of films and television programs that fall outside of his noteworthy horror roll of honour. Regardless of your personal attachment to any specific movie genre, he still delivers on the valuable "must see" list of movies no matter what the subject. And Miike's brilliant Japanese Spaghetti Western "Sukiyaki Western Django" certainly can and should be counted on that "must see" list.


Thankfully, Miike has done the right thing and stayed true to the basic spaghetti western formula, just giving it his trademark post-modernistic Japanese ultra-violent flavor. 1 innocent township with a fist full of treasure, 2 rival gangs fighting over said township for said treasure, 1 lone gun-for-hire maverick caught in between the 2 gangs, and 1 legend pertaining to a mysterious gunslinger from days gone by who you just know will blow in to save the day by the end of the 121 minutes of screen time.

Miike has used the historical rivalry between the Japanese Heike and Genji clans during the samurai era as the background for the story, only difference is that its set in Nevada. The film is scattered with references to the ancient samurai Genpei War clan rivalry, as well as the War of the Roses, and multiple spaghetti western references from the films Yojimbo and Django. It's a great ride throughout, and whilst it is ultra-violent per se, it's still a hell of a story, and a whole heap of fun.


It has a myriad of classic western movie themes running as an undercurrent, and deals with love, loss, betrayal, all draped with beautifully colored cinematic visuals, and an amazing array of very talented cast. I was particularly taken by the cinematography, the vibrant colors, all carefully muted to take the sharp edge away.

It was for me, very very spectacular to watch as a movie, filled to its 10 gallon brim with motion, movement, rhythm and grace. And again, I was captivated by both the classic western style storyline, and the performances of a group of actors who for the most part would not have English as a first, or possibly even a second language. Yet they still totally kicked ass. Just with spurs on... OUCH!!!

There's no shortage of action, carnage, comedy, and the body count, while not on a Rambo scale, isn't too shabby. There's bucket loads of blood for those of us who appreciate Miike's  ultra-violent imagery, and there's enough shoot outs and sword fighting to satisfy most lovers of the action genre.

By the same token, there's plenty of the ol' "deep and meaningful" in the storyline and plot as well, which from a punter's point of view makes it all the more fun. The dialogue is witty, quick, and well suited to genre, and certainly contributes to the film's fast paced style. Like most Takashi Miike films, this baby moves. And she moves quick. I never found myself scratching from boredom, and all my movie going senses were more than catered for. Sight, sound, story, engagement, it was all there in bucketloads. Even the dreaded cameo from Quentin Tarrantino didn't ruin it for me. At 1st, i must admit I kinda braced myself  for it, but by his 2nd and 3rd appearances, rather than being the usual self indulgent wankfest you expect to occur, it didn't, and his character did add some value to the overall story, and even a hardass motherfucker like myself kinda giggled when he appears in the "Autobot" wheelchair towards the end of the film. More than meets the eye...

For sure, this movie won't be everyone's idea of a great cinematic experience, but it was more than enough for me. It had all the right moves to fill my action and carnage need, my love of engaging story lines, took my breathe away with dazzling cinematography, set and costume design, and offered up a cast of players who never left you in any doubt that this was a goddamn cowboy movie. With swords....

I felt the story was a perfect adaptation of your classic Italian spaghetti western, had all the elements needed to engage me from go to whoa, and I would have no problem in watching it again. And again. And again. Guaranteed a cult classic, and fully ranked high in my personal opinion.



Director: Takashi Miike
Producer: Masato Osaki
Cinematography: Toyomichi Kurita
Written by: Masa Nakamura
Staring: Hideaki Ito, Masanobu Ando, Shun Oguri and Quentin Tarrantino



Written review by stonerphonic © June 2010
All rights reserved


thhjasmine said...

Nice Review! i Look forward to watching this!

stonerphonic said...

thank you babe. it's def a great flick to just sit back, watch & enjoy, or get really involved in. it works on so many viewing levels. i really liked it a lot.

BMX photo said...

thank you for sharing ^^!
very good review!

stonerphonic said...

@BMX photo thank you for stopping by & for the support. come back anytime...

Joe Monster said...

Great review, stonerphonic! This movie looks really interesting. It seems to be a literal clash of East and West. I mean cowboy shootouts are badass in of themselves. But now we're throwing SAMURAI SWORD FIGHTS into the mix?! Oh baby. This looks all types of awesome. Thanks for bringing this flick to my attention. I'm gonna have to seek it out now. Keep up the good work!

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