63 user 45 critic

Izo (2004)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama, Fantasy | 28 May 2005 (USA)
An executed samurai takes an existential journey throughout time, space and eternity in search of bloody vengeance.


Takashi Miike


Shigenori Takechi (screenplay)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Kazuya Nakayama ... Okada Izo
Kaori Momoi
Ryûhei Matsuda ... (as Ryuuhei Matsuda)
Ryôsuke Miki Ryôsuke Miki
Yûya Uchida Yûya Uchida
Masumi Okada Masumi Okada
Hiroki Matsukata Hiroki Matsukata
Hiroshi Katsuno Hiroshi Katsuno
Masato Masato
Bob Sapp
Takeshi Kitano ... (as 'Bîto' Takeshi)
Daijirô Harada Daijirô Harada
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Taisaku Akino
Chisato Amate Chisato Amate
Takeshi Caesar Takeshi Caesar


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 nightwatch

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

samurai | city | assassin | sword | death | See All (132) »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Referenced in Half Past Midnight (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Noh, Play Station, MTV
24 February 2006 | by djoresSee all my reviews

Izo is a vector-movie: it has a point of origin (Izo is put to death in the opening sequence), direction and speed (arbitrary revenge as determined by the edge of Izo's sword), but no destination. It must be stressed that unlike "traditional" narratives, it consciously avoids the end-point/solution/destination. The movie lets the aesthetics of its form shape the meaning of the story. The aesthetics in question being: hyper-loaded symbolism as conjured in Noh theater; PS2 architecture of the action - labyrinthine violence for its own sake leading up to the next level, which is more of the same with a different CGI background; MTV approach to video editing - Izo's bounces between layers of reality with the approximate speed of a cable channel surfer are spliced with archival footage and several "unplugged" Kazuki Tomokawa performances where the ancient Greek chorus would provide emotional emphasis.

The experience is not exactly rewarding but definitely unparalleled.

Apart from some questionable world-conspiracy and misogyny moments, an overall entertaining, extreme, and cryptically new take on film storytelling. Miike in his radical element.

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Japanese | English

Release Date:

28 May 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

IZO See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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