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City of Lost Souls

Teah , Michelle Reis , Takashi Miike    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 49.96
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A stylized and violent thriller, prolific director Takashi Miike's City of Lost Souls (2000) is set in the ganglands of Tokyo and pays homage to Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarantino, and, in a weird, animated cockfighting sequence, The Matrix. Mario (Teah) is the Japanese-Brazilian gunslinger fresh out of jail who, in a hilariously audacious action sequence, hijacks a helicopter to save his Chinese girlfriend Kei (Michelle Reis) from deportation. He must then secure 18 million yen to secure fake passports for both of them to make a new life for themselves in Australia. In a misconceived operation, Mario arrives at the lair of the intriguing Ko, Kei's ex-boyfriend--a self-assured, effeminate young exchange student--who is somehow head of a vicious gang of Triads. He's at the point of buying a consignment of cocaine from decadent, cold-blooded Yakuza gangster Fushimi when Mario's arrival triggers a shootout, with Mario escaping with the wrong suitcase. Now, in time-honored True Romance fashion, Mario and Kei are on the run from the mob.

Although visually tricky with some strong set pieces, The City of Lost Souls is rather hazy when it comes to story and characterization. We get little sense of the runaway couple as people. A young blind girl is introduced into the tale and there are romantic moments between Mario and Kei, but these feel like sugary palliatives to the bloodshed rather than touching moments. Better perhaps to check out Miike's Audition, a brilliantly gruesome satire on male Japanese attitudes toward womanhood. This is a flashier, faster, but less artistically satisfying affair. --David Stubbs


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun film June 25 2004
Format:DVD
To me this would be the most overlooked Takashi Miike film. Or to say that's it's more overlooked of his region-1 DVD releases.
This film is nothing like i've ever seen done. It takes multiple languages/cultures and clashes them in a funny, violent and all around fun film. The characters are kinda cartoonish but they all have a dark edge to them. The lead man Mario (played by japanese-brazilian porno star Teah) barely speaks thoughout the film but he has some sorta superhuman edge to him. The story here is that Mario just got outta jail and his woman Kei is risking deportation so after crashing the deportation bus and killing a few people he gets Kei, not before they envelop a plan to rip off some coke from a yakuza/triad/russian mob connection. Yeah it's confusing but easy to follow. The soundtrack is awesome, with some punkish tunes to fit the mood and more mellow songs to fit that mood. It all works well. There is violence, and lots of it, a few quick but awesome shootouts and some bloodier goings on but not as brutal as other Miike films (DOA for one). The acting is good, but like I said it's a bit cartoonish and over-the-top at times. The ending is well.... A letdown in terms of quality. But this is still a great film, with lotsa style (a CG chicken cockfight for one term), humor (a midget, slapstick humor) and just plain fun.
Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tokyo's Melting Pot Aug. 5 2003
Format:DVD
Beautiful Kei, crazy Mario, fearless Fushimi. This is one of my all-time favorites. Forget that the movie has no intricate plot, that the characters do not engage in didactic dialogue, that the film is not laden with themes. This movie entertains in the style of "True Romance", "Natural Born Killers", and "Pulp Fiction". Miike focuses on what he does best, delivering a tireless film with
incredible cinematography. Although there is no apparent attraction between Kei and Mario (they more or less share scenes as good cop/bad cop partners), moments of their acting brings humor to their insanity: Kei's facial expressions after she lights the Russian's face with a mouthful of vodka; Mario psyching himself up on the street as he goes to rescue Carla and Kei.
This film has some great stunts and artistic flair. The fighting chickens, of course. Mario and Kei jumping from a helicopter with no parachutes. Mario jumping out of a window with Carla to land on his back on top of a car. The blood shed between Mario and Fushimi during their shootout that spells the word "Love".
I would have liked to have seen more of the love between Mario and Kei. She is extremely beautiful; I find it hard to believe Mario is always so restrained around her. Not even a kiss on their wedding day. Still, a great film, and the only place I've seen a crowd of people brushing their teeth with cocaine for a fix.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hugely entertaining March 11 2003
Format:DVD
If you've seen Audition and are looking for another Takashi Miike film to watch, City of Lost Souls may surprise you, since it's completely different from that horrific masterpiece. Where Audition is slow-paced and character-driven, Lost Souls is fast, flashy and features characters that are at best cartoonish. (Imagine True Romance with a weaker script but MUCH better direction.) This thing is a wonder of pure cinema. Freely imaginative, colorful filmmaking that's such a blast to watch that it doesn't matter if you really don't care much about the protagonists, Kei and Mario, a couple of ruthless lovers on the lam. But there's too much wit and invention on display to dismiss this film as the sort of souless spectacle you usually get with American action films. There's genuine lyricism in some of the shots, and there's an undercurrent of melancholy through much of the movie. But there's lots of mischievous humor as well. It's obvious that Miike delights in constantly throwing curves at the audience, and unexpected, bizarrely funny moments abound. This is a beautifully shot film, and the DVD transfer looks very good. Included are a "making of" documentary and an interview with director Miike.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Disaster Jan. 12 2003
Format:DVD
Anyone familiar with the work of Japanese director Takishi Miike knows that his movies have a distinct tendency to take you off of the fence and force you to make a concrete decision: namely, "I dig this movie" or "I hate this movie." ("Audition" and "Visitor Q" being perfect examples.)
While many people would dismiss this as plotless, violent trash there are deeper themes afoot to those who care to look.
The plot itself is a convoluted mess about a monosyllibic Brazilian/Japanese thug named Mario (played with nihilistic cool by Teah) and his gorgeous Chinese lover, Kei (Michele Reis) who rob the Chinese mafia (led by the ping pong loving, effeminate gangster Ko) and the Yakuza (fronted by the brutish, ultra-violent kingpin, Fushimi) during a drug deal in order to get cash the flee the country with. Things go awry, as they're wont to do in these kinds of movies. Mayhem insues.
However, the real story isn't the story at all. It's pretty much a mashed up collage of violent imagery. There's also a massive absurdist streak (CGI cockfighting with the birds pulling off Matrix-style moves) and an evil sense of humor (one of Fushimi's poor victims gets beaten to a pulp, lit on fire and then run over with a car). The characters pose and posture, the dialogue is minimal, and the scenes are shot with a hyper-kinetic verve. Imagine Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" or Tarentino's "Pulp Fiction" on cheap drugs and you're off to a good start.
The movie breezes through 100 minutes like it was half of that and leaves you with an ending that will initially leave many people scratching their heads. "What was the point of that?" And perhaps that's the ultimate point.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Miike's Best
Don't bother with this piece of trash. At least rent before you buy. I'm a great fan of Director Miike's work, but he makes so many films that some just turn out to be... Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by gibbie
5.0 out of 5 stars "People in this world, we have no place to go..."
At the risk of sounding very pretentious, I think that some of the negative reviews miss the point of the film. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by Henry Platte
2.0 out of 5 stars When good directors make bad movies
I caught this movie on cable after seeing "Audition" (which I liked) in the theatre. That Miike is a gifted director, pipin- full of potential, there can be no doubt. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2003 by Benjamin Lefebvre
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Miike Classic!
This film was made by Takashi Miike, one of Japan's newest avant-garde directors (also known for using enormous amounts of violence and gore in his films). Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2003 by James Lee
2.0 out of 5 stars City of Lost Souls
I just picked up this movie today and it took everything that I could muster not to pull it out of the DVD player. Read more
Published on March 26 2003 by "jviper22"
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice juicy crime flick.
I've been exploring the works of Miike since first stumbling upon "Audition" back when it hit the art house theater circuits over a year or so ago, and while that movie... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by Amanda
3.0 out of 5 stars Brutal violence and love...
City of Lost Children is a Japanese contemporary version of Bonnie and Clyde. Kei is about to be deported, but her boyfriend Mario steps in between the law and rescues her in... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2003 by Kim Anehall
2.0 out of 5 stars Violently Expressed Love...
City of Lost Children is a Japanese contemporary version of Bonnie and Clyde. Kei is about to be deported, but her boyfriend Mario steps in between the law and rescues her in... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003 by Kim Anehall
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and available!
Takashi Miike films are very difficult to get a hold of in the West. In the classic words of the madman: this is a crime. But, more and more of them are becoming available. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2002 by Paul Escu
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