Directed By: Takashi Miike 
Written By: Takashi Miike & Masa Nakamura 
Cinematography By: Toyomuchi Kurita 
Editor: Taiji Shimamura 
 Cast: Hideaki Ito, Masanobu Ando, Koichi Sato, Kaori Momoi, Yusuke Iseya, Quentin Tarantino

Based on characters created by Sergio Corbucci.

A revolver-wielding stranger crosses paths with two warring clans who are both on the hunt for a hidden treasure in a remote western town. Knowing his services are valuable to either side, he offers himself to the clan who will offer up the largest share of the wealth.

This film is more an experimental feature than an actual film to me. It seems more interested in paying homage and trying something different than being a worthwhile feature.

It’s not surprising Quentin Tarantino produced this, a film which gives him two actual acting roles to play, from the first scene it alerts you to the type of film it will be, with it’s obviously fake sets ad backgrounds, over the top action, and a ridiculous amount of blood splatter.

Director Takashi Miike’s films he never been boring, this is no exception. He is not a Director, but more a visual artist. Who seems more interested in telling a story visually and pulling off beautiful one-of-a-kind shots. Then he is sometimes with plot or acting it seems actors are mere props to help him realize his vision. That can sometimes hurt his features as the acting can range only from ok to horrible. Never excellent, great, or good. But it does rank him in the auteur status. The man works quick and is known to complete up to 3 – 4 features a year.

He has a huge library behind him. Not all of the winners though definitely original in content with mixed results.

Here he makes a western though I’m not sure if it’s set in America or Japan. As when the stranger rides into town. It is supposedly Nevada it’s an all-Asian cast where all the actors speak English, non-dubbed since it is not their first language the acting is not that good though they Try. Which leaves the film to feel artificial. Everything feels like a nice try, but with no reason why. It does have a few shots that are nice touches to remind us o spaghetti westerns. I guess this is partially filmed foreigner but made to look American with Tarantino as a cameo of an American star.

The introduction to the tale given by Quentin Tarantino’s character is taken almost verbatim from the opening passage of the Tale of Heike: “The sound of the Gion Shouja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sala flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.” (Helen Craig McCullough’s translation) When the sheriff is talking to old Quentin Tarantino’s character the sheriff talks about Akira (his son) and Tarantino replies “every time I hear that name it touches my heart, what can I say, I’ve always been an anime otaku”, (Japanese slang for a person that is a fan of anime, manga, and Japanese video games and culture) this is a reference to the classic anime film “Akira”.

Quentin Tarantino’s mechanical wheelchair has a duck hood ornament on one of the arms, the same hood ornament as on Stuntman Mike’s car in Death Proof, directed by Tarantino.

While the images are somewhat homages, the shots and style are totally original. Miike, who I wonder with so much output does he ever feel these films are personal and special to him or is it just a job and once the project is done, he forgets it and while it is in production he is focused on finishing it by any means necessary as quickly as possible.

This film involves a certain fantasy element of unbelievable circumstances in addition to guns the main character also uses a samurai sword as a gun. A sort of reminder of the culture the characters originated from.

One of the extravagances is having a character have an all of a sudden split personality that comes out of nowhere that controls him physically at times, which leads to plenty of physical comedy, but makes no sense especially when it raises him from the dead.

The action finale is a bit of a letdown. I expected more of a spectacle than what I got. Thinking most of the film was a lead-up to an action extravaganza ends.

Quentin Tarantino proves yet again that he is not the most gifted actor.

If you don’t look for too much, you should like the film.

A satisfying rental but not a must-see. Expand your horizons give it a chance.

Grade: C

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s