MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 279 this week

Ichi the Killer (2001)
"Koroshiya 1" (original title)

7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 36,073 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 266 user | 132 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of.

Director:

Writers:

(comic), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 41 titles
created 30 Jul 2011
 
a list of 43 titles
created 19 Mar 2013
 
a list of 46 titles
created 30 May 2013
 
a list of 46 titles
created 2 months ago
 
a list of 32 titles
created 3 weeks ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Ichi the Killer" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Ichi the Killer (2001) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Ichi the Killer.

User Polls

7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Gozu (2003)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A yakuza enforcer is ordered to secretly drive his beloved colleague to be assassinated. But when the colleague unceremoniously disappears en route, the trip that follows is a twisted, surreal and horrifying experience.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Yûta Sone, Shô Aikawa, Kimika Yoshino
Suicide Club (2001)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A detective is trying to find the cause of a string of suicides.

Director: Shion Sono
Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Masatoshi Nagase, Mai Hosho
Dead or Alive (1999)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A yakuza of Chinese descent and a Japanese cop each wage their own war against the Japanese mafia. But they are destined to meet. Their encounter will change the world.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Renji Ishibashi
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two contract killers cross paths in the middle of the same job and realize they are childhood friends.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Shô Aikawa, Riki Takeuchi, Noriko Aota
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Based on the true life serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas.

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles
Martin (1976)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young man, who believes himself to be a vampire, goes to live with his elderly and hostile cousin in a small Pennsylvania town where he tries to redeem his blood-craving urges.

Director: George A. Romero
Stars: John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Director: Scott Derrickson
Stars: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After thirteen and half years in prison for kidnapping and murdering the boy Park Won-mo, Geum-ja Lee is released and tries to fix her life. She finds a job in a bakery; she orders the ... See full summary »

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Shi-hoo Kim
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae
Funny Games (1997)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch
The Chaser (2008)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts. While trying to track them down, he finds a ... See full summary »

Director: Hong-jin Na
Stars: Yun-seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Yeong-hie Seo
Sin City (2005)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.

Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nao Ômori ...
...
Paulyn Sun ...
Karen (as Alien Sun)
Susumu Terajima ...
Suzuki (as Sabu)
Shun Sugata ...
Takayama
Toru Tezuka ...
Fujiwara
Yoshiki Arizono ...
Nakazawa
Kiyohiko Shibukawa ...
Ryu Long (as Kee)
Satoshi Niizuma ...
Inoue
Suzuki Matsuo ...
Jirô / Saburô
Jun Kunimura ...
Funaki
SABU ...
Kaneko (as Hiroyuki Tanaka)
Moro Morooka ...
Coffee Shop Manager
Hôka Kinoshita ...
Sailor's Lover
Edit

Storyline

When a Yakuza boss named Anjo disappears with 300 million yen, his chief henchman, a sadomasochistic man named Kakihara, and the rest of his mob goons go looking for him. After capturing and torturing a rival Yakuza member looking for answers, they soon realize they have the wrong man and begin looking for the man named Jijii who tipped them off in the first place. Soon enough Kakihara and his men encounter Ichi, a psychotic, sexually-repressed young man with amazing martial arts abilities and blades that come out of his shoes. One by one Ichi takes out members of the Yakuza and all the while Kakihara intensifies his pursuit of Ichi and Ichi's controller Jijii. What will happen as the final showdown happens between the tortured and ultra-violent Ichi and the pain-craving Kakihara? Written by Joseph

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

yakuza | psychotic | gang | pain | blade | See more »

Taglines:

Ai wa, kanari itai. (Love really hurts.) See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong perverse violence/gore and sexuality, language and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 July 2002 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Ichi the Killer  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) | (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

For the sequence in which his character is suspended from hooks and tortured, actor Susumu Terajima required twelve hours of makeup and other preparation, and then spent twelve more hours shooting the scene. See more »

Goofs

When Kakihara is attacked in the streets, protective padding is visible under his clothing. Look for it when he bends over backwards without falling over, before he removes his piercings. See more »

Quotes

Kakihara: Damn... Nobody left to kill me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits scroll up, down, left, right, forwards and backwards. See more »

Connections

References A Clockwork Orange (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A mixed bag for me
23 April 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Ichi the Killer is the story of a Yakuza gang run by Anjo, whom his underlings find missing (possibly killed) with 100 million yen gone as well. The functional head of Anjo's gang while he's absent is an off-the-wall sadomasochist named Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano). There is a former affiliate gang, now somewhat rivals, run by Fujiwara (Toru Tezuka), and there are a number of gang outcasts who hang out at a bar/brothel, with Jijii (Shinya Tsukamoto) as their head. Jijii is manipulating/grooming a bizarre killer named Ichi (Nao Omori), who is gradually taking out Anjo and Fujiwara gang members for him.

If you haven't seen infamous Japanese cult film director Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer yet and you're considering it, there is one "test" that might make the decision easy for you--do you like fairly regular over-the-top violence, torture and gore? If that's enough to turn you on to a film, do not pass Ichi the Killer up--you're sure to love it. This is one of the most brutal and gory films I've seen, and yes, I've seen Andreas Schnaas films. However, if those things are enough to turn your stomach instead, you shouldn't come near this film with a two-foot needle.

For me, I don't mind over-the-top violence, torture and gore, but that in itself isn't sufficient for me to like a film. Despite some admirable stylistic flourishes, including some very unique cinematography and editing as well as an unusual but extremely effective soundtrack, there were a number of things in Ichi the Killer that didn't quite work for me. I ended up liking the film, but just moderately. A 7 is a "C" in my rating system.

One problem I had with the film, which might be clear from the description in my first paragraph, is that the plot isn't exactly easy to follow. Writer Sakichi Satô, adapting the script from a manga (Japanese comic) by Hideo Yamamoto, introduces a large number of characters in each scene, and we do not always get their names or very clear dialogue explaining who they are. There were quite a few characters for whom I was never very sure about their identity. In conjunction with this, the film didn't always flow as well as it should have. It tends to feel like long scenes of establishing exposition alternated with violence/torture showcases.

But by the final "act", there are some very interesting revelations about characters and their relationships to one another. So it's not that the kernel of a good story isn't there. It's just told a bit awkwardly. This might not have been helped by the fact that Miike has stated that he was shooting for a kind of open-ended vagueness that is characteristic of Asian genre films. The impact of the revelations is somewhat dissolved by the time we get to the dénouement due to the intentional ambiguity.

The beginning of Ichi the Killer employs a lot of extended cinematographic techniques in rapid succession ala Oliver Stone--different film speeds, stocks, tinting and processing methods, and so on. While these are interesting, Miike forgets about them quickly as he works his way into the story. They pop up occasionally later in the film, as do a couple shots in the vein of Dario Argento, such as a tracking shot through someone's ear. Even when more conventional, the cinematography and production design remain admirable throughout--I particularly liked the shot of Kakihara sitting in front of a red background, with his purple coat and green scarf, but there is a lot of outstanding visual composition in the film.

Whether intended or not, Ichi the Killer frequently reads as more of a black (morbid) comedy. This is because the violence is so over-the-top that it is frequently cartoonish and ridiculous. Those are positive qualities in my book, but anyone looking for realism should beware. On the other hand, the emotional reactions from "victims" are fairly realistic throughout the film, including the fact that people do not die immediately after they are injured.

But Miike's concern, as with his other films, is more surrealist. The behavior of the principal characters is particularly wacky, especially Ichi, who often seems borderline mentally deficient--he cries and cowers before he brutally attacks his victims, and has a very odd sexual dysfunction associated with his violence. Ichi is also portrayed as something akin to a superhero, and Miike constantly bounces back and forth between showing him as an admirable vigilante and an anti-hero. Kakihara, who is giving something of a venerable "bad boy" rock star/punk persona, is also almost a hero through much of the film, and he also has some bizarre sexual dysfunctions, as do a number of other characters. This is one of the main subtexts of the film; it isn't entirely dissimilar to the later A Snake of June (2002). There is also another character who undergoes something of a superhero transformation, as he sheds his public appearance and becomes a muscle-bound avenger near the climax.


111 of 133 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Don't know how anyone can like this meakins8
The Ending Seems Clear to Me metalliham
Kakihara's mouth Chacopa
Is Ichi worth watching...? robfromthenorth
To all those tough unappalled guys , we know who you are :) lastostadas
Does Ichi Ejulcate When He Kills? timechangelater
Discuss Ichi the Killer (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?