Koroshiya Ichi/Ichi The Killer

Don Brown the8thsamurai at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 22 23:56:03 EST 2002

Having seen Koroshiya Ichi (Ichi The Killer) a few weeks ago, I decided to 
take a bit of time to think calmly about the merits (and otherwise) of the 
movie.  Well, it seems that even after the waves of physical revulsion have 
dissipated, the grey matter still feels palpably debased.  I had read Mark 
Schilling's Japan Times review before seeing the film, and yet was still 
unprepared for this sadistic, misogynistic dog's breakfast.
  It wasn't so much, the actual graphic nature of the behaviour being 
exhibited on screen: it was more the fact that it was apparently the only 
object of the exercise.  In his films to date, Miike has often seemed to be 
carrying out his own practical research into just how far he can go before 
the Japanese censors start snipping away.  Films such as Audition and the 
Dead Or Alive series contain several extreme scenes, but I've never felt 
that they were in themselves the sole motivation for their production.  It 
was a kind of visceral punctuation, window dressing for more "mundane" 
elements such as dialogue, plot and characterisation.  Here it is simply 
repetitious, offensive, and most of all boring.  
  In "Ichi", the action heaves from one shocker to another, a repetition of 
deliberately reprehensible images.  It is hard to reconcile the talent on 
paper (Sabu, Tsukamoto, Terajima etc.) with this kind of cheap and shoddy 
shock fodder.  It was even more difficult for me to understand why actors 
and filmmakers of this calibre would agree to appear in something that only 
serves to place them in the same seedy category.  This is the kind of movie 
that will only serve to delight the fans of this brand of cruel 
exploitation, no doubt appealing to those who look to Asian cinema for the 
deviancy that filmmakers in other countries dare not show so explicitly.  
Worst of all, I'm sure the fact that Miike is the director, as well as the 
big names on display will be seen to give the movie some air of cult 
coolness, and a special dispensation from the trashing it so thoroughly 
deserves.  Don't be fooled - avoid.
Don Brown 

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