If you can muster the fortitude to watch the unedited versions of Ichi the Killer and Visitor Q all the way through you will be taken to the very limit of the cinematic extreme.
Short of a snuff flick a Takashi Miike film is the most sick depraved event you will expirience on you television set (with the exeption of the Olsen twins movies of corse).
Ichi the Killer Rules!
I'm not sure if I feel worse that I saw "Ichi the Killer" or that I actually enjoyed it! Probably neither actually. I saw "Suicide circle" a week before, and I feel I may have been somewhat hasty when I said in my review it was the weirdest movie I've ever seen - I think that "Ichi" might just have it beat...
Anyone who saw the humor in the "American Psycho" novel, or enjoyed "Very Bad Things" will definitely want to see this. The plot is fairly ludicrous and poorly explained. Some guys want to bust up some gang so they set a couple of gangs against each other. I think that's it - although there were plenty of mistakes in the subtitles and my Japanese isn't so hot, but I think I got most of it.
Anyway, the real attraction isn't the plot, it's the characters, Ichi and Kakihara. Ichi is a reluctant mass-murderer, while the Kakihara is a willing masochist. Should be fun when they meet, right? The premises and backstories are waaay out there and there's a subtle twist to the denouement and all in all it is a fantastically entertaining ride.
If you have the stomach to sit through it that is...
This is for those that think the violence is pointless or that the movie has no plot. If you haven't seen the movie you might not want to read this.
Jiji (the old man) is after Kakihara, why I have no idea. He wants to inflict as much pain as possible on Kakihara and his gang, which is difficult seeing how Kakihara is a masochist. Jiji is actually Ichi's old karate instructor (the muscular dude is the real Jiji the old man is his disguise). He knew Ichi when he killed his parents and used that to brainwash him. What he didn't know is that Ichi is a monster sadist who doesn't fully realize it. Jiji can't just go after Kakihara for no reason so he fixes it where he gets hired to do it, which is why he sets up Suzuki.
The violence in the movie comes in two forms, the comic book stylized violence which is almost comical and the ultra -realistic stuff, usually perpetrated against a female. The movie is not misogynistic, women are used because they are seen as being delicate and therefore the violence resonates more than it does violence against men. By contrasting these two kinds of violence Miike allows the viewer to set their own limitations for their consumption of violence; in fact, the whole sadism masochism thing could be seen as a reflection of this. (Miike could be saying that the person that perpetrates violence, the sadist (filmmaker), is no better or worse than the person who enjoys receiving it, the masochist, or viewer. (Miike makes the viewer identify with Kakihara by tricking us at the beginning.) The way in which Jiji (and Miike) get their revenge is through dissapointment. Instead of a huge violent showdown, ala DoA, we get a bawling Ichi laying on the ground a wreck.Read more ›