Why Don't You Play in Hell? (2013) Poster

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Thank You, God of Movies
Grethiwha14 February 2015
Beneath all my suffocating inhibitions, my inability to share my true feelings, my fear of doing what it is that I really want to do - there is a character somewhat akin to 'Hirata', in Sion Sono's 'Why Don't You Play in Hell?'. Here is a ridiculous and frankly insane character - a wannabe film director (and leader of the 'F**k Bombers' cinema club) who'll go to literally any length to realize his dreams and is not remotely discouraged by his complete lack of accomplishments over the past ten years. He's nuts, and yet my soul is frankly screaming for me to live my life with the same liberated, unashamed, energetic, joie d'vivre, that Hirata maintains in the face of it all... The spirit of the F**k Bombers!

Before Sion Sono was a filmmaker, he was part of a poetry collective called 'Tokyo GAGAGA', that took their poetry screaming into the streets. 'GAGAGA', Sono's explained, is the 'sound of the soul'. By that same token, I've often felt that Sion Sono's characters are the soul, personified: their actions are crazy, over-the-top, and usually comically violent - they're not realistic, normal characters - and yet I see my own soul realistically reflected in his characters, more strongly than anyone else's.

Like Kurosawa's 'Dreams', 'Why Don't You Play in Hell?' is autobiographical in the most uniquely and completely outlandish way. Hirata is Sono, from his early amateur filmmaking days, when he really did go round with his gang, calling themselves the F**k Bombers, playing Bruce Lee in the park, and being called an idiot by young children. That just about everything else in this movie is heavily fictionalized is pretty obvious, but just as Sono's characters don't reflect normal people, but capture their spirits, his story, if you consider it autobiographical, captures the spirit of his experience becoming a professional filmmaker. It's a movie about the spirit of movies, the spirit of filmmaking, and as Sono says, the 'love of 35mm'.

It's also about a yakuza turf war. And there's some romance as well: a meek boy falls in love with a girl after seeing her shove a piece of broken glass through another guy's cheek with her tongue, and shortly gets over his own shyness. The movie is a crazily-ridiculous breathlessly-paced action-comedy, capturing the same punk rock energy as Sono's Love Exposure, and it's his most polished-looking film yet. It's a lighter affair than most of the movies he made before - the psycho-horrors and the Fukushima-dramas - but it's no less good; it's thoroughly entertaining from start to finish, and especially, everything after the F**k Bombers finally cross paths with the yakuza is pure genius.

It's a movie that had me laughing, had me tapping my feet to the music (all written and composed by Sono himself), and had me grinning cheek-to-cheek the whole way through. And, like Sono's very best movies (Hazard, Love Exposure), it might have even inspired me, to loosen my inhibitions a little bit.
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An Extremely Bloody love letter to 35mm film
estebangonzalez1012 March 2015
"This movie exists only to impress you."

Acclaimed Japanese director, Shion Sono (Love Exposure, Suicide Club, Coldfish) has crafted a delirious and extremely over the top comedic action thriller which will surely impress audiences all around the globe. It's very difficult to try to write a review for a film like this that seems to be all over the place. It was a truly unique and crazy experience. At first it feels like the stories aren't related, but as the film progresses every single scene serves a purpose and it all comes together at the end. Sono is an artist and in this film we can see the passion he has with film. This is his love letter to 35mm filmmaking and he mixes several genres into one glorious experience. In a way it is similar to what Quentin Tarantino brings to his films. Over the top violent action sequences with a lot of fake CGI blood, a lot of humor thrown into the mix, and several movie references. Just like Tarantino referenced Bruce Lee in Kill Bill through Uma Thurman, there is a character here who also resembles Lee in his yellow and black uniform. However Sono doesn't follow a similar narrative structure as Tarantino and doesn't rely as much on the wise cracking dialogue. WDYPIH? has a very unique structure and it's hard to know what direction its heading at times because it seems to be all over the place. It is a crazy experience, but it is hard to resist. My only complaint is with the pacing of the film which at times seems to drag. I had fun with this movie, but I still found myself checking my watch once in a while. This could've been better if it was cut to around 90 minutes, but it is still a film I admire very much.

The film centers on a group of young film aficionados who dream and pray to the movie god that he allow them to make an epic film, but it is clear they aren't heading anywhere when ten years later all they've managed to do is make a one minute trailer. There is also a huge confrontation going on between two yakuza clans. The Kitagawa yakuza clan attacked the Muto yakuza clan at their leader's own home. Muto wasn't around, but his wife faced them off leaving a pool of blood behind. Due to the violent scene, the police never believed it was self defense and imprisoned Muto's wife for ten years. Their young daughter had a successful toothpaste commercial taken off the air as well due to the violent episode. Her dreams of becoming a successful actress were shattered by the removal of the commercial. The clans have declared a truce but as Muto's wife sentence is approaching its deadline war breaks out again between them. Muto must manage the confrontation while delivering on his promise to his wife of having her daughter become the star of a movie by the time she is released. He promises it will be epic and through fate he encounters these aspiring film aficionados who are given the perfect scenario to make the film they've been dreaming of making for the past ten years. Everything seems to be leading to an outrageously bloody conclusion as Muto plans to kill two birds with one stone.

Shine Sono's love and passion for Japanese cinema can be experienced here in this unique and extremely crazy love letter to film. It is over the top and full of energy, but it always remains imaginative. It is unlike any other film I've seen and manages to capture that nostalgic sense of a disappearing art form while remaining incredibly unique and energetic. This is an extremely violent and irreverent film, but it is so over the top that it never feels gory. It can become a bit tedious due to its long running time, but the ending fulfills and it is a film that will stick with you long after the credits role. The performances from Jun Kunimura as Muto, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi as Ikegami, and Itsuji Itao as Masuda stand out in this wacky and crazy film.

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A film made for film lovers
chiuchinkiuallan19 November 2013
I watched this movie few days ago and it is the first Sono Sion movie I have ever watched in cinema. The movie is quite funny with bloody scenes and mad characters (especially the film producer/director played by Hiroki Hasegawa) as Sono always does. You can say that the theme is actually about 35mm film and enthusiasm towards filmmaking (or in general pursuing dream). The thing that touches me (as non film geek) is that film encourage audience to get crazy for our dreams and wild out for it (I think at this point is quite similar to Love Exposure). I would recommend this movie to film lovers but in my viewpoint, this probably cannot really come close to Love Exposure.
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Best Movie of 2013
capo-365-82960218 March 2014
The more movies of Sion Sono's that I see, the more I realize that he is one of the greatest artists working today. It's a big claim and I don't like to kiss ass, but the man is one of the few people working in entertainment and art that sees through the current state of the world and instead of criticizing it, he creates a stylish farce that inspires, entertains, and breaks our balls for believing in what we do, in the way we do. He challenges us in a playful way, that I believe is more compelling than the other artists that attempt to do the same thing through relating trauma in films that Hollywood seems to like concerning war, disease, rags to riches to rags, etc...

The world is absurd because of the people in it. The characters. Of course this life is a saga, a tragedy, an adventure, a romance, but above all it is a chaotic mess filled with jokes and gore. Filled with weirdos that are completely out of place on this planet and weirdos that are even more in place.

I love Sion Sono's films and this one in particular lives up to what I love about them. This film gives me hope in the world. I won't spoil it for you. It's about yakuzas clashing with a film crew. It's about me and you. It's about you and me. Yakuzas and a film crew.
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A Batshit Crazy Riot From Start To Finish.
CinemaClown20 January 2015
Insane, maddening, deranged, maniacal & batshit crazy from the very beginning to the very end, Why Don't You Play in Hell? is an intensely entertaining, extremely enjoyable & ridiculously fun cinema from Sion Sono that parodies a whole lot of things, is filled with frenzied performances & is undoubtedly last year's funniest film.

Why Don't You Play in Hell? concerns an amateur film crew that films anything n everything but has been waiting for its big break for over a decade. Their moment arrives when they are hired by a yakuza boss who, despite being in the middle of a feud with another yakuza clan, wants to finish the film starring his daughter as soon as possible in order to screen it for his wife's homecoming.

Written & directed by Sion Sono, the film opens with a brief ad segment & from then on, only gets crazier as the story progresses. It parodies many different films from Enter the Dragon to Kill Bill, its humour goes in all places, characters are raving lunatics, performances are wild, music is awesome but it's still got a lot of heart which makes it an enjoyable watch.

On an overall scale, Why Don't You Play In Hell? is a commendable work of quality despite its unhinged production, is sensibly composed even though its storyline goes completely bonkers & is at its bloodiest best during the final act. Hilarious as hell, an irresistible fun ride & easily the most amusing works of the year, this absolute riot of laughter & craziness comes highly recommended.
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One Helluva Self-Reflexive Yakuza Splatterfest.
meddlecore1 November 2015
Why Don't You Play In Hell? is all sorts of great fun. It's essentially a comedy driven Yakuza splatterfest. Sure, the actual splatter is mostly CGI, but the rest of the special effects and hilariously great kills more than compensate for this weakness.

It all begins in the not so distant past, with a group of kids who wander the streets in search of content to capture for a film they dream of making.

These kids call themselves "The F*uck Bombers", and have their HQ in the backroom of their local cinemaplex. They dream of making an epic movie together, but aren't particularly focused on completing the task.

On the flipside, we have Mitsuko- a young actress who has become infamous for singing a catchy tune in a toothpaste commercial. She is the daughter of the leader of the Muto Yakuza clan and his wife.

One day Mitsuko returns home after acting class, to find an absolute bloodbath in her apartment. Turns out, the rival Ikegami clan had tried to raid and assassinate her father. But they happened upon her mother instead...whose capacity for vengeance they had clearly underestimated.

Anyways, the sole survivor of this ordeal was Ikegami himself. And he became obsessed with young Mitsuko- when she happened upon him near death....giving him a new lease on life.

Fast Forward 10 years later....

The F*ck Bombers still haven't completed their film (though the passion is still there). Muto's wife has been imprisoned for the massacre she unleashed on the Ikegami's. Mitsuko has become a rebel youth and disappeared off the grid. While both Muto and Ikegami are attempting to find her.

Eventually, she is captured by the Muto clan- who want her to star in a movie they are planning to produce- in order to appease the desires of Muto's imprisoned wife. But Ikegami thinks he could be a better father to her- and thus, is also searching for her.

Upon her forced return, Mitsuko escapes and runs into a self-deprecating young gentleman named Koji- who used to be totally in love with her as a boy. She asks him to be her "pretend boyfriend" as a means to ruse her captors. Never has he felt so lucky and privileged.

Anyways, Koji is given an ultimatum: direct the film for the Muto clan or die. He agrees, but has no filmmaking skills. So he runs away to find The F*ck Bombers...so that they can finally realize their decade long fantasy...with full funding, an actual crew, and actors!!! The plan is to set up a Muto raid on the Ikegami clan...and film the whole thing in realtime (for maximum realism)- with both parties acting as willing participants.

Cue one of the most hilariously over-the-top bloodbaths ever captured on 35mm celluloid.

This film is absolutely hilarious from start to finish. The characters are great. The special effects are awesome (less the overuse of CGI bloodspatter).There are loads of amazing deaths and kills. And the final scene is so action packed you simply can't look away without missing something.

Like with all films about making a film, it also possesses an incredibly alluring quality of self-reflexivity (meaning that the content of the film acts as a reflection on the making of the film). I haven't seen a film which such a depth of self-reflexivity since the indie masterpiece The Wizard Of Speed In Time. So this film is keeping up with some pretty solid company!!! It's simple really. If you like gore- or films about making films- this will definitely be up your alley. Be sure to check it out!!! 8.5 out 10.
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The most screwed up movie I've seen in a long time!
bbickley13-921-586649 November 2014
Tokyo gore with a hit of influence from Guy Richie.

It was the perfect midnight movie with such an over the top cartoonish violence about an Amateur filmmaker who stumbles upon the opportunity of a life time (or as he sees it, a gift from the film God) when a young man needs his help in making a movie after getting caught up with a Yakuza boss' daughter.

A series of events with a large ensemble cast that wove together perfectly.

This movie was strange but so entertaining I did not stop smiling throughout the whole thing
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Oh,Yeah~The last 30 minutes just make me high
user-891-65187929 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the film last night and it was not the first time I saw Shion Sono's film but it was really the first time that his movie made me laughing for several minutes and I felt very very excited about it when it ended.The movie's last 30 minutes is a must see! Yes,it is!!!Although the pacing of it's first half is a little slow,it just like a foreshadowing for the plot and the relationship between the characters. Jigoku de naze warui is a movie which put filmmaking, yakuza,blood,dream all such cool elements together and it saluted many directors such as Quentin Tarantino(The yakuza use swords instead of guns which reminds me of Kill Bill), John Woo(shooting at the same time falling the feather everywhere), Johnnie To( there is always an old funny guy wipes his sweat up when the situation became very emergency .)…….

I found a thing that I'd love to see a movie which is about filmmaking itself and I don't know why,it just like I will always fall in love with sinister gang movies and cult movies.I also want to appreciate that Japan is really a great place to have cult films came out.The style of the movie twists several times and some strange scenes just hit the point which is morbid in some ways but hilarious at the same time.The ending is OK, but if it's not turn out a "Cut" it will be fine too.I mean the "director" running down the road scene is already the best, maybe we don't need a play within a play thing like that 'cause many films end like that way already.And for the fight at close quarters, the executions is perfect and spectacular!!! I also found a very very sweet song called BARKER LOMAX LOVER BOY,first heard it from Big Bad Wolves's trailer .here is the only link I can find http://www.songtaste.com/song/3367639/ Can anyone tell me who is the singer???tks!
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Groovy, but not flawless
joris-nightwalker19 January 2015
Shion Sono, one of Japan's contemporary cult directors, makes a follow-up to cinephile hits like Suicide Club, Noriko's Dinner Table, Strange Circus, Hair Extensions, Love Exposure, Coldfish and Himizu. After The Land of Hope, his idiosyncratic sci-fi drama shot around the Fukushima disaster, the transgressive Sono makes another instant cult hit with Why Don't You Play in Hell? This definitely won't appeal to a mainstream audience and to be honest, at first I had quite some difficulties watching it myself. It all seems a bit over the top and because of that it felt amateuristic. On the other hand I suppose this is the authentic style Sono is known for. With some patience I endured the first half an hour. Once I got familiar with its peculiarities, irony, meta-references and subversive character, this film started to grow on me. Especially the part of the young movie team that has been procrastinating their film project for years; while this is more of a sideline to the story, Why Don't You Play in Hell? depends on it for its absurd climax. The only thing I couldn't get into was the over-the-top acting. Cool movie with a high DIY vibe, although not flawless.
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A Japanese love letter to cinema.
Lambysalamby2 July 2015
This was a movie made with great love for cinema. If you are a true lover of film you'll greatly enjoy this film. The film has many references, parodies and praise for other films you'll recognise which adds to the fun. The music is excellent, a lot of it original, some you'll recognise...

If you liked Kill Bill, your sure to like this, where as Kill Bill was like a love letter to Japanese cinema and culture coming from Tarantino, this is one coming right out of Japan....

The main appeal for this film is that it is lots of fun and you'll get the tone of the film very early on, which is the crazy off the wall humour which Japan specialises in. Its gloriously over the top, gory and funny and I was smiling the whole way through! Check it out!
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Gnash your teeth hard, let's go!
sol-3 October 2016
Fate causes the paths of a guerrilla film crew and two feuding Yakuza clans to clash for the second time in ten years in this outlandish comedy from 'Suicide Club' director Sion Sono. The movie initially feels like a twisted version of 'Bowfinger' or 'Cecil B. DeMented' as the young guerrilla filmmakers heartlessly intrude on the Yakuza madness to get money shots. In between the violence, there are also some moments of macabre beauty too, such as a young girl in a white dress sliding through a sea of blood, and things get more complex as the story progresses and jumps to the present. Deliciously weird and wacky as the film is, it takes a long time for the paths of the protagonists to cross once again, and the film feels way too long. It is, however, the midsection that needs trimming (especially a romance) as the carnage-heavy finale is glorious with the guerrillas' insensitivity to all the bloodshed at peak. The unemotional way in which they film all the action is uncanny; one gets a sense that they have completely lost all sense of distinction between reality and movie-making. The film has some solid performances too, particularly from Jun Kunimura as a much-feared Yakuza boss whose daughter used to be in toothpaste commercials, and Shinichi Tsutsumi as the other Yakuza boss who became fixated on Kunimura's little girl at an age that many would consider creepy. Fumi Nikaidou (as the adult daughter) also keeps singing her toothpaste jingle. It is that kind of delirious, unconventional comedy if one is in the mood for something decidedly different.
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The finale is glorious, but the set-up really could have been tightened up
zetes29 May 2016
Nutty yakuza comedy from Sion Sono. It's overlong, particularly with an interminable set-up, but once we get to the big action set piece you'll find it well worth the wait. A group of amateur filmmakers calling themselves the F Bombers (led by Hiroki Hasegawa) has spent a decade looking for the opportunity to make a real movie. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for them, a yakuza gang is looking for someone to make a feature starring the boss's daughter (Jun Kunimura is the boss, Fumi Nikaido the daughter). Hasegawa proposes that they film the real-life gang war that is bound to happen with the rival gang (led by Shin'ichi Tsutsumi). Sono really could have shortened the film considerably had he realized the character played by Gen Hoshino, the love interest of Nikaido, was worthless and jettisoned him. Or, more obviously, he should have been combined with Hasegawa's character. As it is, Hoshino plays a shy, ineffectual character and he pretty much gets shoved to the background anytime the more lively Hasegawa is on screen. I can't imagine anyone caring about his burgeoning relationship with the drop-dead gorgeous Nikaido. None of this really matters once we get to the blood-soaked finale, which is about as fun as any movie I've seen in recent memory.
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If It was just as good as the ending, this movie would be a Perfect 10.
michaelhirakida30 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Unfortunately, This Japanese Gore Film is unsatisfying to watch. The only way I would watch this movie is if it was for the ending which even it has its problems.

The story is very complicated. There are these amateur filmmakers who want to make a film, this guy who is captured by the Yakuza whose boss wants to make a film for his daughter who was in Japanese ads when she was a kid, Some kind of truce between two mob bosses that gets broken, I have no clue what went on.

This movie for the first hour is extremely boring, unpleasant (Not in the gory way) and really needed a huge rewrite. All it is, is just boring, pointless and bad exposition and talking and violence that adds nothing until the whole movie finally gets in shape and remembers: "HEY! Wasn't There A Film we had to make?" I felt I was watching a Japanese soap opera instead of a gore picture!

The guy who gets captured by the Yakuza, Koji, guess how he finds his crew? He pukes on some written wishes. But the puke goes on for way too long which makes it unbelievable.

The only thing good was the ending. I thought this whole freaking movie was going to be an awesome bloody massacre movie. But no, the first hour and a half is just pointlessness and set up to the film they are going to make, then the last 35 minutes are amazing violence and death and it is one of the best action sequences I have seen in a very long time.

But the fact that they kill every important cast member except the selfish overly confident unlikable director feels like a huge middle finger to the audience. Also, he doesn't realize HE MADE A SNUFF FILM AND WILL RELEASE IT TO WIDE AUDIENCES ACROSS JAPAN!! This guy should be freaking put in a jail cell!

But the police show up and he escapes while they kill everyone! Then, they show him running down the streets, then show the premiere of the film where the clueless audience members applaud as the other cast members are fine and well and are all dandy. BUT OH NO WE CANT END ON THAT NOTE. Lets go back to the shot of him running with the freaking footage which the police are possibly going to hunt him down for and then, CUT! The director says. Yes. I have no freaking clue what was going on. This movie just gave up three quarters of the way through the whole entire ending.

This movie is just a headache to watch. All I asked for was great gory fun and the Trailer made it look amazing. But of course I was fooled and got sucked into a gun shot loud drama, then set up, then a almost perfect ending. If you really want to watch Japanese Bloody or Gory films, watch something like Battle Royale or any other movie that is better.

Its only worth it for the ending action scene. That's it.

41/100 D+
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Juggling grenades
Vartiainen10 October 2019
So let me try and summarize the premise of this film. The key word here being 'try'. There's a gang war going on. Two yakuza families are feuding. One of their battles ends up involving the young daughter of one of the bosses. Who happens to be a child actor working for a toothpaste company. The families agree on a truce and the girl wants to grow up to become an actress. Meanwhile three aspiring teenage film makers charm a street hooligan to be their very own Bruce Lee. With the yellow jump suit and everything. They also come across one of the yakuza members from earlier and start to film a snuff film with him as the main feature. Then they make offerings to the gods to achieve their dreams.

And this is the first perhaps ten minutes of the film... Yeah, tightly packed doesn't begin to describe this film. It's less filled with content and more bursting from the seams like a punctured tin of sardines. In a vacuum.

And that's both the strength and the weakness of this film. Something is always happening on the screen. This is not one of those films you can fall asleep while watching. It's physically impossible to do so. That being said, the film is more hyperactive than a squirrel hitting the speed of light. Which can be off-putting.

Though, granted, that same hyperactivity makes the end battle one of the most glorious splatter fests I've ever witnessed. It's a thing of beauty. Normally you have to hack Quentin Tarantino's wet day dreams to see something like it.

Unfortunately the film suffers from the fact that it has too many things going on at once. I personally cared very little about the film maker characters. Had the whole film been about the yakuza families, I would have been more entertained. Especially the daughter, played by Fumi Nikaidô. She was a blast.

Still, I can safely say I'll remember this film. Not the best example of its genre, but certainly one of the most unique. Definitely recommended for fans of Japanese exploitation films.
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my notes
sstrunks-0524530 June 2019
This is one of the most different, weird, and interesting movies i've ever seen. like nothing i've seen before. funny and sarcastic. crazy and very over the top. some people will HATE it. (1 viewing)
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Welcome to Sion Sono's World.
truemythmedia13 June 2019
This film is an absolute riot. It's ridiculous, hilarious, brutally violent, and unapologetically strange. While this film will certainly not be for everyone, it was right up my alley. It's a film you can't take seriously, but you can have a lot of fun with. I absolutely recommend this film, particularly to fans of the films of Takashi Miike ("Audition", "As the Gods Will") or other Japanese cult directors. I will probably work my way through Sono's filmography until I make it to his four-hour epic, "Love Exposure".
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An instant fave
davidwaxx22 November 2018
Great introduction to Sion Sono's work. Always something happening, and obviously very well thought out. Both as a film, and as a story. Often times foreign films find their characters washed out in translation, but the story, characters and visuals remain colorful throughout the film.
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A Sono Tarantino Inspired Film
jimniexperience19 January 2018
Action Comedy with stylistic blood sprayage everywhere

Movie follows two groups of people. The F-Bombers , guerilla film crew, and two Yakuza gangs battling for top position .. The F-Bombers want to film a gang war , and the yakuza clans want to make the perfect movie .. Holy matrimony

Fast forward ten years later and everybody gets their wish

Features a Bruce Lee look-alike , and a clueless Director who never wanted the position in the first place , a cute girl dancing in a pool of blood and yakuza memories still reliving the moment 10 years later

The actual "filming" takes place in final 30 minutes
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An Oddly Beautiful Film
CJFouraki7 December 2017
Why Don't You Play in Hell? is an absolutely insane and over the top action comedy film. It's quite unique, and quite beautiful. It's essentially a love letter to cinema.

The first 3/4 of this film is the setup for everything. There's a lot of good, cringey humor, some small segments of over the top violence and super stylish film making.

Characters and their backgrounds are set up, their motives and dreams, it's all there. The way they're introduced is often humorous and stylistically weird, (for instance a gangster and his obsession for a young girl set up in a kitchen ankle deep in blood) and it's an absolute joy to watch everyone mixing together and interacting.

The story is crazy and inventive, light-hearted and straight out brutal. For an R rated film, there really isn't a lot of violence or adult themes for most of this film. That is until you reach the last 20 minutes of this film which delivers everything you could ever want from a film like this. It erupts into a violent blood whirlwind, full of over the top kills, dramatic deaths, raw emotion and absolute insanity. It has an absolutely perfect ending for the film it is.

The camera work is neat, the sound is well done, the direction is great, the story is insane and there's a lot of heart in this. And I think that's why I love it so much.

This is a film I feel the director has done to throw in as many elements as possible, to direct all the things he never had the chance to direct, or may never have the chance to direct. It's a mix of gangster, kung-fu, samurai, romance, comedy, and it relishes all of these genres. And you can't help but have such a good time and feel a range of emotions when watching this.

I'm glad I found this sitting off to the side at the store for a cheap price. It was totally worth it. I had a great time with this film and it flies by. If you love movies, all types of movies, I think you'll find a place for this film inside of you. It's one of a kind. It's like a super hyper violent version of Cinema Paradiso, fueled by cocaine and pumped with heart, emotion and steroids.

Overall, this movie is great. It has awesome action, lovable/annoying characters, intense drama, and a huge love for film. 8/10 a great watch.
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Completely bonkers and bloody hilarious (literally)
brchthethird22 February 2015
Shion Sono is a filmmaker that I've several films from before, and I've never been less than impressed. WHY DON'T YOU PLAY IN HELL? continues that trend by delivering something completely bonkers, but also really funny and a little bit poignant. The plot, which is a bit difficult to sum up, is about this group of friends who make movies. Through a convoluted series of circumstances, they end up filming a Yakuza feud between the Muto and Kitagawa clans. One thing the film does extremely well is have a sense of fun about itself and not take itself too seriously. There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor, and the over-the-top performances help a lot to set a manic tone. The film is also gloriously, even gleefully, bloody and violent. This might turn off a lot of viewers, but the insane levels of violence are largely played for laughs. I don't want to spoil anything specific, but there are several moments that practically made my jaw drop in incredulity. Finally, this film works as a love letter to film and shooting on film. The group of kids (later, adults) who are at the center of the story have a lot of fun shooting stuff on their 8mm cameras, but shooting this Yakuza feud on 35mm provides them with the opportunity they've been waiting for their entire lives. If there's anything negative to say about the film, it's that it might have bitten off a little more narratively than it could chew. At 130 minutes long, it juggles a lot of narrative threads and moving parts, some of which could have been trimmed. For starters there is a fairly long opening sequence that takes place 10 years before the events in the film proper. It sets up all of the necessary characters and relationships, but it could have been a little bit shorter. There's also a subplot about the daughter of one of the Yakuza boss' daughters who has aspirations to be a famous actress. Granted, this is necessary to how the burgeoning film crew comes into contact with the Yakuza, but I'm sure they could have come up with a less convoluted way to accomplish this part of the plot. Still, I will say that the film was never boring nor dragged. Not only does it have comic levels of violence and over-the-top humor, but the cinematography and editing keep things moving along at a good pace. And this all culminates in a final battle that alone is worth the money you spend on it. Overall, this is something that will probably mostly appeal to Shion Sono fans, or of Japanese cinema in general, but if you're in the mood for something weird you can't go wrong with this.
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Cleverly Organized Bedlam!
net_orders22 April 2016
Viewed on DVD. Cult Director Shion Sono delivers a film that has to be seen to be believed (or not believed)! The plot involves a "gorilla film" group of dedicated losers (who has spent the past 10 years aggressively going nowhere) unexpectedly given the chance to film a battle-to-the-death between two mob gangs (and the unexpected bloody wipe out of the victors--as well as surviving members of the film crew except for the gorilla film director--by a police SWAT group). Or maybe all this never really happened except in the imagination of the gorilla film director. (Obvious clues are there to ponder.) Starting with an overly embellished English translation of its title, the movie is way, way over the top in all contemporary cinematic categories (and then some): creativity; humor; Japanese cuteness; melodrama; violence; acting (there are well over 30 speaking parts plus one reluctant cat); CGI gore; music; mobile (hand-held) cinematography; editing; break-away sets; etc. (The film's complexity is such that the viewer can not help but wonder how Sono was able to pull together and transform the massive amount of raw material he must have started with into this polished product.) Although the movie is fairly derivative, Sono seems to be trying to one-up himself (not others) in scene after scene. And he is mostly successful. Actors appear to have been frequently unleashed by the Director so as to improvise their parts and seriously caricature their roles. This tactic usually has a galvanizing impact on the viewer (especially in the final third of the film). The movie, though, is too long with many repetitive scenes in the mob battle. Surround sound is hit/miss erratic. Subtitles are close enough, but fail to translate the names of the film's principals during the opening (or closing) credits! An obvious candidate for eternal cult-crowd homage. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
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Sono Does It Again!
sgcim2 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Sono seems to be the only film maker left who I feel I can always depend on to make a great movie. I was a little worried in the beginning that he was just trying to make a stupid Hollywood-type comedy, but it turned out there was a good reason for this. In the extra features on the DVD, he gives a press conference with a friend of his, the editor of a Japanese film magazine that specializes in films like Sono makes. It turned out that there actually was a Film Club called "The F-ck Bombs", and it was started by Sono and his friend. Many of the scenes in the beginning when they were chased by kids in the park and called idiots, actually happened to Sono when he was first starting to make films, only Sono was thirty years old when that happened to him, and the experience was extremely traumatic for him. Sono started out as a poet, and only started making films when he was much older. This movie is about him reliving that time in his life, and also a homage to Bruce Lee films. It has nothing to do with inferior film makers like Tarantino. The only other director who constantly turns out good films like Sono is Todd Solondz, IMHO.
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Fumi Nikaidou
MovieGuardian6 April 2017
At first I was expecting something like a thriller, suspense, maybe a little demonic possession ?... BUT NO !!!

Glad I stayed with it until the end.. and this girl Fumi Nikaidou, is a great match for this movie.

This movie is hilarious !
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