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.
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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
Over the top violence/ bizarrely fun/ Manga for the screen
Be warned - as early as the film's titles - letters rising from fallen sperm - (The costumed killer ejaculated voyeuristically watching violence done by one of the other team of gangster killers). You should either run screaming from the theater or stay for an over-the-top exercise in so much violence it becomes white noise and almost disappears. Seen at the Cinematheque, here in Los Angeles, with an adult crowd - this unrated but surely X-cubed film was a delight to those who stayed A few patrons fled in the middle of the screening but most got the point. Bad guys pursuing bad guys - with genre formula being trashed at every point - the humor built and built. Any good characters (children included) were decimated or tortured. None were spared. Yet the film is a romp - from the complaining co-workers who grumble about having to clean up blood-drenched murder scenes (they found intestines everywhere) to the sado-masochistic special effects. The film has left turns into fantasy - then back again - it has intentional bad-acting scenes (from previously capable actors)- the camera work has a will of it sown - exposition that makes no sense.
This film posits the questions: If you are going to be a bad-boy film director and take screen violence as far as it can go - no farther than that - NO REALLY FARTHER THAN THAT - to the point of blood almost every minute - what would the result be? Apparently the director feels that on the far side of excess violence and blood letting in glorious technicolor and grotesque special effects, the cinema would revert to a twisted sense of innocence (beyond all that killing there is a comic sense of the universe).
A film that should be seen - but you should be prepared for it. Not a classic - but a definite statement - more a cinema-artist's statement than a traditional film. Museums will find a place for it - families will abhor it.
I got into it to my amazement. It stretched my mind about what should be so.
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