It is unlikely that Ichii the Killer will make it beyond the festival circuit, in Great Britain at least. This is not because Miike churns out films at an alarming rate (3-4 a year, many for a strong video audience in native Japan) but because the film parades a continual stream of visual nastiness. I was told to expect sequences like those at the end of Miike's widely seen Audition, but dispersed readily throughout the movie's entire two hour duration.
The warning was true to an extent but also misleading. The 'kitty, kitty' torture at Audition's end is drawn out and particularly sadistic, the climax to the film's narrative and aimed to unsettle the audience. The same cannot be said for Ichii. It is gross and it certainly concerns sadism but is not presented sadistically. Rather it is ridiculous comic excess, telling us more about the director's sense of humour.
So for the details; there is a fierce gang and a small group of guys who try to undermine them and between them, there is Ichii. Partially hypnotised, he kills anyone he is told was linked to a (fictional?) bullying incident when he was at school. He does this with a battle suit with blades in its boots. Filled with passion and anger he lashes out to brutal effect: witness the body neatly sliced into two wavering halves, before falling to the floor.
Miike's films are B movies. That does not necessarily mean that they are bad but just that he keeps narratives loose, instead pursuing and exploring the motifs and codes of the gangster and gore genres. His pursuit is unusual and imaginative; in the credits the title ' Ichii the Killer', emerges from recently spurted semen that falls on the ground, and when Ichii goes to slaughter suspected bullies, torrents of blood shoot out from the room he walks into. If you can embrace this aesthetic, there is much to be entertained by.
The unrepresentative Audition may be all many know of Takeshi Miike, but Ichii the Killer and the other numerous films shown at festivals reveal there is more to savour. The cult of Miike is rising, and for those into slapstick gore and smart gags, its about time they got on the boat.
Reviewed by William Fowler
Reader comments about Ichii the Killer
lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
nice movie. funny. sick. beautiful shots. very over the top. only one big comment; it really is too bad that you have to read the (non-available) mangacomic. miike told the audience, after they've seen ichi in rotterdam, that you'd have to read the comic to understand the last scene from the film. and that you'd have to see the film in order to understand the comic.
I feel slightly unsatisfied. i've tried to get my hands on the comic, i failed. the comic was never translated and nowhere available in europe. now I'll never fully understand the plot. if anyone can help me on this one, please send me an e-mail. my heart will be filled with endless gratitude.
Carfey (Email address withheld) writes:
I loved that film. I saw the rough cut in Cannes and wished they would have sold it to me. We released I Spit On Your Grave instead but I still want to see that film out in Britian. A great comedy. But not for all the family.
Giovanni (email@example.com) writes:
i-ve just seen it. i agree it-s quite sick, but its sickness is its peculiarity too.
satanic kid (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes:
wow the only thing i've seen thats this amazingly violent yet is so superbly rich in black comedy, must be the surreal irreversible. these are two films that wrench open your head and do to it things that should never be done or shown to a human brain ever since seeing these two films especially ichi the killer all that remains of a once healthy brain is a pile of slush and everyone i know whos seen either of these has been slushed. i was wondering whether anyone knows where i might be able to get hold of the clothes out of ichi the killer partically any that kakihara wore if anyone knows would they please email me
the wes (Email address withheld) writes:
Ichii finally comes to the uk on dvd.and what a stunning film its anime made flesh.gory,funny as hell and kakihara is possibly one of the greatest movie characters of all time.also one of the only films to convert non japanese movie fan friends of mine that im not crazy for watching this shit after all. a classic.
miguel tipacti (email@example.com) writes:
good blood weird movie from japan.
another knock down to usa stupid horror movies of the last years
oswaldio (Email address withheld) writes:
Ive got to say that torture scene with the boiling oil is really sticking in my head definitley a very hard hitting film the only film Ive scene thats as sick and stick in your head as this is scum. excellent film but some of it is a bit wierd not to keen on him pissing himself adn stuff all the time.
tudor (Email address withheld) writes:
god damn. a killer movie.
the torture scene with the boiling oil also is stuck to my head. but the whole manga reality stuff is just awesome. not recommended to see it
under any influence coz it might
give u some nightmares.
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