"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
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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
"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 bad...man, 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
"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