movie film review | chris tookey

Ichi The Killer/ Koroshiya 1

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  Ichi The Killer/ Koroshiya 1 Review
Tookey's Rating
3 /10
Average Rating
6.00 /10
Tadfanobu Asano, Nao Omori, Shuinya Tsukamoto
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Directed by: Takashi Miike
Written by: Sakichi Sato from the comic strip by Hideo Yamamoto

Released: 2001
Origin: Japan
Colour: C
Length: 0

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One of Miike's most violent and sadistic movies, filled with squirting blood, throat-slashing, limb-hacking and other forms of mutilation too gruesome to describe here. Kakihara tortures one rival by hanging him in midair by hooks sunk into his back. Another poor chap gets cut in half from head to crotch. (Ouch!) Every now and then, Miike throws in a bit of absurd humor, like the woman hopping down a hall after one of her ankles has been chopped off.

(V.A. Musetto, New York Post)

There’s an absolute laundry list of tortures on display here (think hot grease, involuntary piercing, severed nipples, several rapes, complete vivisection, and rooms so filled with blood that it seems to rain from the ceiling) under the pretenses of a plot that follows a group of gangsters searching for their kidnapped boss. The film impressively uses CGI effects to transform the bodies of its actors’ flesh into something more malleable. Perhaps more disturbing than the abundance of characters wishing to dole out such abuse, though, are the few who actively seek it. Much of what we see is horrible but it’s also undeniably exceedingly clever. If there’s not necessarily a total continuity between scenes, there is an admirable amount of excitement carried between them. It’s rare that the maiming grows rote here. For all of the tonal shifts that we’re put through, it’s amazing that so many of them stick. If the moralizing contained in the movie can literally be boiled down to ‘Killing’s not nice,’ that’s got to be the problem of someone other than Miike.

(Jeremy Heilman,

Twenty minutes into Takashi Miike’s latest, visceral opus Ichi the Killer, I had to stop the film in fear of going mad from the mayhem I was witnessing. A violent opera of sadism filled with mutilated yakuza, masochistic prostitutes, and innocent victims caught up in a swath of incendiary revenge, Ichi the Killer is nothing short of a masterpiece - and a challenging one... The best part of the film is its realistic gore. Whenever Ichi slices open a throat with his razor-sharp boots, the blood sprays like a broken water main, painting all corners of the room in crimson fury. By mixing in CG elements, Ichi literally slices people in half. Gore aside, Asano and Omori are impressive actors, with Miike maintaining an omnipresent sense of danger and suspense throughout the film’s duration. Highly recommended, but be forewarned, it'll take a strong stomach.

(Max Messier,

How would you deal with the disappearance of your boss? For the sadistic Kakihara, his reaction is to find out what's happened through torture sequences, the likes of which you'll never have seen before.

(Almar Haflidason, BBCi)

Takashi Miike is clearly one sick fuck. He's also, equally clearly, one of the most talented directors in the world. His last picture, Audition, didn't really hang together, but climaxed with one of the most gruelling torture sequences ever filmed - a sweaty ordeal that crossed beyond horror into humour. Ichi the Killer is a major step forward - and this time, there are 'unwatchable' sequences all the way through. Wherever this movie is shown, there will be walkouts - but if you can stay in your seat, and force yourself to keep watching, you'll be taken on an exhilarating ride through a unique, hardcore new world. It seems that, in Tokyo at least, the present really does look how the past saw the future, and Miike is our guide. He's never afraid to use flashy camerawork, but his control is dazzling - and he pays just as much attention to how the film sounds (grisly effects, an eclectic soundtrack) as to its look.

(Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge)

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