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Cult Japanese director Takashi Miike draws inspiration from the popular Playstation 2 title Yakuza for this unhinged tale of underworld violence in Tokyo starring Goro Kishitani and Kazuki ... See full summary »
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We begin in 1865, when the Shogunate is on its last legs, but still capable of punishing its enemies. One is Izo (Kazuya Nakayama), an assassin in the service of Hanpeida (Ryosuke Miki), a Tosa lord and Imperial supporter. After killing dozens of the Shogun's men, Izo is captured and crucified. Instead of being extinguished, his rage propels him through the space-time continuum to present-day Tokyo, where he finds himself one with the city's homeless. Here Izo transforms himself into a new, improved killing machine, his entire soul still enraged by his treatment in his past life. His response to the powers-that-be, whose predecessors put him to death, is the sword. Written by
I've seen my share of Lynch, Cronenberg, Tsukamoto, and other Miike films in the past, and I must say for a fact that IZO beats everything else currently out there for extreme bizarreness.
After watching the film for 2 hours, there was still a lot of head scratching from the audience leaving the theater. What did it mean? What exactly happened? What was the purpose? But do you expect any less from Takashi Miike?
As what I gathered, an assassin named IZO is crucified as punishment, from what we don't know, probably a few hundred years ago. His punishment instead goes beyond multiple spearings through his body, but eternal damnation of life, where time, space, and dimension are not clear.
It seems IZO has the capability of traveling through random times and space, but randomly out of nowhere. He kills whoever may be in his path, as they are trying to kill him. The purpose of his eternal damnation is not truly clear and he seeks on a Reason. A Reason in a place where Reason doesn't exist.
Add to the package a Huge body count (not as bloody as you would expect actually), some sex, samurai and cartoonish violence, random old stock footage, zombies, a randomly appearing folk singer giving metaphoric songs on occasion, snakes, caterpillars, and birth itself, it is one unique picture.
Did I get it? Nope. Did I enjoy it? I think I did. A second viewing is what I must give it eventually. 8/10
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