Friday, 14 September 2007


Director: Takashi Miike
Country: Japan

A mysterious lone horseman rides into town and soon discovers that it is under a power struggle between two gangs. It seems like your average premise for a western movie, but then you see that something is different - the clothes, the buildings, the samurai swords. This is east meets west, as Japanese actors speak phonetic English, characters eat Japanese food, and a conflict intensifies between the white gang and the red gang as they both aim to find the town's hidden treasure.

Think of this as a movie that Quentin Tarantino would have made if he were Japanese. In fact, Tarantino makes a cameo in this movie as a cowboy in his trademark overacted style (which he probably thinks is good acting). The scenarios are ridiculous, the dialogue is intentional, and the action is intense. I did like all these things about the movie, but what I didn't like is that it didn't captivate me. I laughed at the funny moments and I enjoyed the gun slinging and sword swinging, but, and I can't put my finger on why this is (perhaps it is due to the forced English), the movie as a whole just didn't seem as cohesive as it could have been.

That being said, I do believe that fans of westerns and samurai movies will love this, and fans of movies like ones made by Miike and Tarantino will appreciate the unique style. If you don't like either genres or either directors, you should probably leave this movie alone.

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