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Ichi the Killer

Reviewed By Greg Muskewitz
Posted 10/11/02 16:35:22

"Side-splitting."
3 stars (Average)

Rampant assemblage, albeit crookedly stitched, of purely comic/absurd violence and grotesqueries.

Following the painful and masochistic dexterity of Audition, I would have expected something other than the comic book mentality and overall lack of seriousness from director Takashi Miike. In its place is the story of a disturbed youth who dons a rubber superhero outfit with the number “one” on the back; as the culprit (usually a rapist or pimp) laughs, often at the hero’s uncontrollable erection, Ichi cries and a blade springs from his boot. Butt-slicing time. Miike, known in Japan as their reigning “chaotisist,” thrives on sado-masochism. Examples of such: hooking a man from hanging chains (à la The Cell) with the additional torture of being doused in boiling oil; the razor removal of nipples; using the boot-blade to slice a body in half (of course, one can see all of the organs falling out as the body divides, but they all appear to be intact); intestines and other insides hanging from the walls, dripping from the ceiling, etc. Because of the outrageousness of the previous scenes, Miike faces the self-imposed necessity to continuously top each act with the next more grotesque and more visceral — however, in most cases, it falls apart like a sutured body. Though the gore is excessive and explicit, it is not squeamish in the sense that Audition is. Rather, the comicality and perversity drive it over the cliff. Ichi the Killer is more of a cartoon in appearance and presentation than it is a movie no matter how violent or ridiculous, and while the absence or ignorance of logic severs all ties to the constraints of reality, there is little (after a short while) to keep one interested even in the fantastical. Naturally, the initial shock wears off and the monotony builds, but Miike is far too lost in his own fantasy world. Prolific as he seems to be, the skill he showed earlier is seemingly not ingenit.

With Nao Omori, Tadanobu Asano, Shinya Tsukamoto, Suzuki Matsuo and Paulyn Sun.

[Redeemable.]

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