March 7, 2011

Ichi the Killer (2001)



"Yakuza boss Anjo disappears with three hundred million yen. His loyal gang members, lead by the masochist Kakihara, start a search, but their aggressive and gory methods worry the other yakuza gangs. Kakiharas most frightening counterpart is the mysterious Ichi, a psychopathic killer with a dark childhood secret, who is controlled by a retired cop."

Having just wasted the last two hours of my life watching this utter drivel, all I really want to do now is use every expletive under the sun to describe how appallingly shit "Ichi the Killer" was. As amusing as that would be, it isn't my style and wouldn't really be all that informative for anyone who hasn't watched the film.

Yes, I know that it was made in 2001 and special effects have improved since then but honestly this was like some kind of unintentional comedy. All the spurting blood effects which were obviously copied by Quentin Tarantino for "Kill Bill" just threw me right out of the action such as it was. The characters were all beyond ridiculous and the negligible plot did very little to hold my interest. It seemed to be nothing but set pieces of gore and violence just for the sake of it.

You should all know by now that I'm certainly no prude and I'm also one of the least artistically-minded horror movie reviewers on the internet but I do like a good story and sympathetic characters. I wasn't looking for some big, thought-provoking work of art with "Ichi the Killer" but I was expecting to not be bored out of my mind by it.

Honestly, how do all these Takashi Miike fanboys manage to delude themselves and other people that "Ichi the Killer" is so fantastic? Apart from one of the prostitutes who kept switching from English to Japanese, there wasn't even any worthwhile heterosexual eyecandy in the thing!

Yes, Takeshii Miike fanboys, I'm calling you out! This film is GAY! It's so homoerotic that I'd put it up there with David DeCoteau's "Leeches". Of course there's nothing wrong with any of that particularly if a gang of misogynistic, genital-torturing Yakuza floats your boat but it did nothing for me.

I pretty much hated every minute of this film from the title appearing in a pool of sperm to the ending which I couldn't understand. I'm not being racist but at least two of the actors looked almost identical and I really couldn't tell who was doing what to who or why. Was the blond one only blond so that he could be more easily identified by a Western audience? And what was up with his cheeks being sliced open and clipped together? I didn't get any of it and couldn't even be bothered to follow what was going on after a while.

Suffice it to say that I did work out that a "Muscle Mary" cop called Jigii had brainwashed crybaby Ichi into killing the Yakuza for him somehow using post-hypnotic suggestions but the rest of it, including all the torture, just washed over me like some really cheap and unpleasant predecessor to "Horsemen" (which I also had the misfortune to watch through Netflix a little while ago).

I suppose a lot of people would credit "Ichi the Killer" with kicking off the whole "torture porn" wave of over-the-top gory effects-driven movies which ruined the 2000s for everyone. Gruesome scenes do not make a horror movie if they come without any emotional investment in the characters. Since there were no "good" characters in the film at all, what was the point? People who enjoy crap like this would probably get off watching cockfights or a couple of pitbulls tearing each other apart with just the same feeling of moral detachment.

I have honestly never hated a film as much in my life as this one. There are no merits to it at all. Without doubt, "Ichi the Killer" is simply the worst kind of poorly written and directed pulp. It was at least an hour too long as well. Avoid!

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