A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.
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The number-three-ranked hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, which puts him into conflict with a mysterious woman whose death wish inspires her to surround herself with dead butterflies and dead birds. Worse danger comes from his own treacherous wife and finally with the number-one-ranked hit-man, known only as a phantom to those who fear his unseen presence. Written by
When Nikkatsu studio executives saw the finished product, they thought it was too terrible to be released, so they shelved it. Director Seijun Suzuki along with others in the film business, film critics, and students protested in unfairness since by contract Nikkatsu was supposed to release the finished film theatrically. It went to court, with a ruling in favor of the director. Nikkatsu had to pay for damages and have the film released. Suzuki's contract with Nikkatsu was terminated, and with the bad reputation, was unable to work on a feature film for the next 10 years. See more »
Wow, I thought the Japanese turned out some weird stuff nowadays. That lame crap has nothing on this wacky thing, which requires about 57 viewings to make any kind of narrative sense.
Jo Shishido (who has cheek implants (!!) that make him look like a chipmunk) is the third best killer in Japan. Apparently, all assassins in Japan do, other than kill people, is try to better themselves in the rankings. It's much like Pokemon, in a way. Jo strives to be number one, but, not only does he have to get past a bunch of backstabbers, he has to find the #1 Phantom, the high man on the totem. And when he does, it's rip roarin' nonsense time!
It's hard to tell if this is a work of genius or of pure insanity. There's no real narrative; more like a bunch of scenes held together by the fact they're all in the same movie. Some of the stuff is so nutty, it's hard not to call it brilliant, like when Jo finally does meet Phantom and they have a sit-down, Phantom pisses his pants rather than get up and take his eyes off Jo. Or the hit that gets foiled by a butterfly. Or Jo's girlfriend's obsession with dead bugs, which lay in piles on the floor. Or the shocking amount of sex and violence in a movie made in 1967. It's really no surprise that the director had his contract summarily terminated when the studio watched this: it is the weirdest movie to come out of Japan in 1967. Or maybe ever. Be prepared to watch more than once.
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