Movie Reviews

bellview--i love movies

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

Movie Awards
2004 Roundup
2005 Roundup
2006 Roundup
2007 Roundup
2008 Roundup
2009 Roundup


"Ichi the Killer"

Directed by Takashi Miike.
Written by Sakachi Satô. 
Starring Nao Omori and Tadanobu Asano.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  8/29/03 


Whoa!  Two words—holy fucking shit! 

“Ichi” is a film about a kid named...Ichi (Nao Omori) who lives in Hong Kong and is seeking help in understanding more about who he is and who he wants to be.  His life intersects with a mob group named the Anjo, led by torture expert Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), and things get really messy after that.  And, by “messy”, I mean just flat-out wrong in many sections:  Kakihara tortures his mob foes by so many varying methods that it just all blended after a while!  People get stuck through the cheeks with knives, nipples are cut off, eyes are gouged, intestines spill out, and on and on.  People die HARD in “Ichi”, and it was far from easy for even me to stomach, especially when one guy started cutting off his own tongue...

But, outside of these crazy/sick torture scenes, the movie is not too interesting.  The story plods along and it seems to know that there is nothing interesting to say; characters are not built very well (but, they are sliced and diced very well); connecting with Ichi is nearly impossible, even with the translation from Cantonese to English.  The sound effects (typical for films of this type) are hilariously bad--I love the sound effects that Hong Kong filmmakers use for nearly every human movement, and it is overdone just as expected in “Ichi.”  Characters speak English and French for certain stretches of film; I’m not really sure why, but they just did, and it was this kind of stuff that left me sitting there with that world-famous “duh!” look on my face.

Rating:  Matinee


Comments?  Drop me a line at


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09