In order to settle a business dispute, a mob leader murders one of his own teenage sons. The surviving son vows to avenge his brother's death, and organizes his own gang of teenage killers to destroy his father's organization.
When the mobster Iwaida Nishikawi is executed by the hit man Takeshi, his family chases the killer. Takeshi's brothers Takashi and Hideshi Miwa try to find Takeshi, who is hidden with the ... See full summary »
In addition to churning out crowd-pleasers like Crows Zero, Like a Dragon, and Sukiyaki Western Django, maverick director Miike Takashi also found time to return to theater in 2007. ... See full summary »
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
Perhaps the closest you'll ever come to seeing Miike's socio-political views
After owning this film for nearly a year, I finally found the opportunity to watch it without my girlfriend being in the same room with me (She couldn't get past Kazuki Tomokawa's first ballad). Did it help with my viewing enjoyment? That would be a definite yes. Did it help me gain a better understanding of the story?
That's a very good question...
I view Izo as Miike's personal views of what Society has become. Facets of every class, organization and subculture within has grown apathetic, and there seems to be no hope. Izo is the manifestation of a great anger, given birth by a world that he realizes is no longer in need of his services. Upon his death Izo is forever damned to travel the Earth, constantly dragged through space and time and forced to face either those who are out to destroy him or those who, like him, are seeking answers to questions which can rarely be answered. In the rare instance an answer is available, sometimes it's not the one we want to hear. Even if the answer in inevitable, it does not matter. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to anything that happens in the world, and Izo is filled with such rage over being betrayed and cast away, that the line between logic and irrationality becomes blurred. In the end everyone's a victim, yet they're all guilty in some shape or form. Izo is forced to face that realization for all eternity, which may make some viewers debate over who the true protagonist of the movie is-Izo or the World (The answer should be obvious, but...).
Most people I've spoken to say they could not "get into" this film. Every one I've spoken to have compared it to Koroshiya 1 or Odishon, which is a mistake. This is not a film about the Yakuza, and it certainly is not a movie that makes Fatal Attraction look like Sixteen Candles. This is a political film; a piece of bloody eye candy with a congealed shell, but political nonetheless. Still, it's definitely worth watching. Make no mistake, this is still "A Takashi Miike Film". All the trademarks that accompany the bulk of his work are present. If you've seen enough of his films (Or at least one), you won't be disappointed. Just don't read too much into it. Try to enjoy it for the great piece of work it is.
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