SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO

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Posted August 28, 2008 in Film

Inspired by a bowl of sukiyaki, a dish swirling with tofu, mushrooms, cabbage, and noodles, Japanese auteur Takashi Miike has concocted an eclectic western: A Nevada brawl interpreted through Italian spaghetti westerns starring a Japanese cast brandishing samurai swords and an armory of pistols. The enemy clans—the Reds and the Whites—wear a color-coded Mad Max combo of letterman jackets, chaps, and hair extensions; they bark threats at each other in a phonetically-learned dialect of English where villains still hiss “I’m gonna clean your plow.” The head of the Reds played by Asian megastar Koichi Sato even insists on being called Henry IV in tribute to Shakespeare’s retelling of the War of the Roses (a floral metaphor Miike borrows). With the entrance of a gunfighter (Hideaki Ito) whose solution for the violence is Kill ‘Em All, the flick’s a lot of sound and fury and dynamite that signifies nothing while paying tribute to everything Miike and artistic cohort Quentin Tarantino (who has an extended cameo) hold dear. Cinematographer Toyomichi Kurita gilds Miike and co-writer Masa Nakamura’s straight-forward revenge plot into a spectacle where feathers burst from wounds, snow falls during duels, and nobody drops their weapon until their eighth bullet wound. (Amy Nicholson)

 


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