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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
Izo is about a character who represents the unacceptable in society. The good and the bad parts simultaneously: He is the progressive spirit that rains righteous wrath upon the corruption in religion, government and the world of finance, freeing man from oppressive rulers. And he is the barbarism of which the human animal is capable when running unchecked and uncontrolled; unrestrained. He represents these aspects of the human spirit up through history, and must finally end his existence when man has attained the purity to cast off oppression for good and eradicate his own barbaric tendencies through moral discipline and self-control. Izo is humanity's anger, righteous and frustrated; resolute and indignant, leading us towards utopia while cutting a swath through the sadly ignorant masses that would oppose him.
Izo is a movie loaded with symbolism, and every drop of blood is artistically justified. Even so, it is nowhere near as clear as it could have been, and the entertainment value is merely so-so. Generally a cool movie, not overly pleasant, but certainly a radical artistic statement of solid integrity.
My rating: 8 out of 10.
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