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Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Widescreen) [Import]

Forest Whitaker , Henry Silva , Jim Jarmusch    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.02 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
If you like a blend of graphic violence with black humor (a la Pulp Fiction) then you'll love this movie. Jim Jarmusch wrote and directed this highly unusual and enjoyable film about a man named Ghost Dog (the brilliant Forrest Whitaker) who is a hitman that lives by the code of Bushido. I've heard there's various interpretations of Bushido. Ghost Dog lives by the code as set down in the Hagakure, a book he often reads. The DVD also includes a great documentary about the movie. An audio commentary would've been nice, but the documentary is so informative that a commentary isn't really necessary.
Ghost Dog works as a hitman for Louie, who's in the mafia. The mafia bosses want Louie to have 'Handsome' Frank (a member of their mafia family) killed by someone "from the outside". Louie has Ghost Dog kill Frank. But now, since Frank was part of their family, they need to kill Ghost Dog - their own code of honour demands it, even though they were the ones who arranged the hit. But Mr. Vargo might also have an ulterior motive for wanting Ghost Dog killed. It's clear that Mr. Vargo's daughter suspects her father had Frank killed. But does Mr. Vargo know that or not? Is he being pressured by his daughter to kill Ghost Dog? I can't say for sure.
It's fascinating to see a present-day African-American man abiding by a code of honour that was intended to be followed by warriors in feudal Japan. Jarmusch says he wanted Ghost Dog to be a likeable killer. He's quiet, gentle, and kind - it's impossible not to like him. Ghost Dog is a cold-blooded murderer, but we can overlook this unseemly aspect of his character, in large part due to his various conversations with the little girl named Pearline.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Movie Ever March 9 2002
By rza
Format:DVD
Honestly, this is my favorite movie of all time. This is a movie where everything comes together. I would really reccomond this movie to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Mobster...Samurai April 4 2002
By jmk444
Format:VHS Tape
Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a fascinating flick - an odd hybrid, two parts gangster epic, one part philosophical journey of self-discovery. Forrest Whitaker (Phenomenon, Good Morning Vietnam) is Ghost Dog, a loner, who considers himself a "retainer" (servant/protector) to a mobster named Lou (John Tormey) who once saved his life.
Ghost Dog is a seeker, studying the Hagakure (The Code of the Samurai). Throughout the film, he reads passages from the Hagakure that highlight his own personal code. Passages like, "Each day a samurai should contemplate his own death and consider various ways of dying, from being torn apart in the jaws of a wild beast, to falling from thousand foot cliffs, and during some part of the day, the samurai should consider himself dead."
Ghost Dog's "best friend" is a Haitian ice cream vendor (Isaac DeBankole), despite the fact that Whitaker's character understands no French and the ice cream vendor doesn't understand English. His only other real human contact is with a young girl, maybe 10 years old, named Pearline (Camille Winbush).
Lou contacts Ghost Dog via carrier pigeon and pays him for his contract killings once a year...Lou doesn't know anything else about his contract killer, not his given name, not even where he lives. This becomes the fulcrum for some very dark comedy.
When a hit goes awry and Lou's associates look to eliminate Ghost Dog, Lou's inability to provide details makes for some darkly comedic confrontations. Veteran screen villain Henry Silva is cold and bizarre as mob boss Ray Vargo, while Cliff Gorman (Sonny Valerio) provides a comic absurdity (a mafia hit man who's also a rap aficionado) rivaled only by the communication between Ghost Dog and the ice cream vendor that transcends language.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time.. Dec 5 2002
Format:DVD
Barely watchable, poorly executed and hardly intruiging, Forrest Whitaker is wasted in a plot that goes nowhere, shows nothing and leaves us unentertained as well confused. This is one of those artsy movies that mainstream veiwers will very much hate. ... Hardly entertaining and nowhere as good as the classic on which it was based- Branded to Kill. ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Sept. 15 2010
By Harvey Vdarski TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A well written, but very slow paced drama. Very little action. Great performance from whitaker.
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By N. Andersen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Ghost Dog is like a contemporary Spaghetti Western/Samurai flick set in the suburbs. It has the slow, mellow, easy pacing interrupted by moments of intense violence, the intriguing but elusive characters who follow their own mysterious moral code even to their death if necessary. It is funny, and even hilarious at times; it is political insofar as it plays with and criticizes racial and ethnic stereotyping; it has one of the best soundtracks of any films (done by the RZA of Wu Tang Clan fame); scenes are joined together by intertitles containing intriguing passages from the Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai, read smoothly by the Ghost Dog himself; it raises existential questions of how to live appropriately in the face of death and the collapse of the forms that give meaning to our lives; and, best of all, it stars Forrest Whittaker in the role he was born to play! That alone makes this a dvd worth owning at almost any price; and at this price I can't see how anyone who loves film does not own a copy.

On a personal note: when I took one of my classes (on American Independent Film) to the Sundance film festival a few years ago, someone asked me whether I hoped to see any stars. I hadn't really thought about it because I'm not that starstruck, I just like movies. But then it came to me: the whole trip would be worth it if I could meet Forrest Whittaker. And I did! He's a very big man, just as impressive in life as he is on film. We were at a party for one of the smaller satellite festivals and I talked to him for a while, and finally said: "hey, I really loved what you did in Ghost Dog." He just nodded a few times, and said, "yeah, that was a cool movie." Enough said.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars what is this rubbish?
I think this movie COULD have been great. There are some funny moments: the icecream man scenes, and the mob members trying to catch those pigeons. Read more
Published on June 23 2004 by W. yuan
4.0 out of 5 stars Whittaker Shines
Forrest Whittaker is certainly one of our most talented and underrated actors. This role probably allows him the greatest latitude to express a wide range of emotions since he... Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Lee Armstrong
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, could have been great
I liked this movie for the most part but it was the ending that put me off. I really did not want to see Ghost Dog die in that way, at the hands of a white man who did not... Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by Geoff Prescott
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal and entertaining
This was another gem from the director Jim Jarmusch, who previously brought us the incredibly underrated zen spaghetti western Dead Man. Read more
Published on March 29 2004 by A. M Robertson
4.0 out of 5 stars "Samurai Conscious Hitman"
Wicked soundtrack! Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuthing to F... with. I can say I apprecaited this movie alot more the 2nd and 3rd time around. Read more
Published on March 12 2004 by Conscious 1
4.0 out of 5 stars Something different
This is definitely not a mainstream action movie, and there were parts when the mafia guys had some bad acting. Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2004 by Bhuck
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
This movie is one of the best movies i've seen in a long time. Forest Whitaker does a exellent job, playing a New York modern Hitman. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by The D-Gee
5.0 out of 5 stars There is only one way to describe this movie: GREAT!
This is a very good movie. It's like a mix between the TV-show THE SOPRANOS and a good hitman-movie (which I haven't seen one before I saw this) and it's placed in the urban... Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2004 by D3strukchun
5.0 out of 5 stars cool
i liked this movie because it's unlike any other movie. it's weird , gritty , and kinda darkly sweet. it all goes together pretty well and the charector development rocks.
Published on Dec 25 2003 by Justin M Kirby
1.0 out of 5 stars Faintly engaging but very stupid
Another film that pinches the core idea of Jean-Pierre Melville's "Le Samourai". This one is not very good. Gangster action meets cod Eastern philosophy. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by snalen
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