Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Ichi the Killer (2001)

Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya 1)Stylish, violent, depraved, funny – Ichi the Killer is seen by many as the definitive (if such a thing were possible) Takashi Miike film.

It follows Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), a masochistic yakuza hitman, who is searching for his missing boss. His motivation is not so money, or revenge – it’s that his boss happens to be the preferred sadist in his pain games. In his quest, he finds out about another hitman, the powerful schitzophrenic “Ichi”, who might be able to provide some answers along with the pain Kakihara needs.

The array of gore is disturbingly impressive, including hot grease, involuntary piercing, severed nipples, several rapes, complete vivisection, and particulrly memorable scene in which a gangster is tortured as he hangs from the ceiling on hooks.

As part of the promotion for the film, sick bags were given to the audience when it showed at the Toronto International Film Festival.

  • Ichi the Killer (Wikipedia)
  • Ichi the Killer (Movie Martyr)
    “Every time Miike pushes us farther than we thought we could go, it ratchets it up a level by either growing even more violent, or by disarming our shock with a bit of morbid humor.”
  • Ichi the Killer (2002) Movie Review (Beyond Hollywood)
    “For many, this is the quintessential Miike film, a hyper stylised visceral barrage of over the top gore, torture and rape, which hangs loosely on a threadbare skeleton of inconsequential plotting and that boasts a madman’s sense of logic.”
  • Ichi the Killer (Snowblood Apple)
    “Frankly, Quentin Tarantino would have given his right arm to have made this film”
  • Ichi the Killer (KFC Cinema)
    “Already infamous for it’s extreme display of violence and gore, Ichi proceeds to shock and disturb audiences and bring them to a whole new level of queasiness.”
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3 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Anonymous

    Seen it. Its good, if you’re into graphic rape, seeing somebody get tempura cooked on their back, massive fountains of blood and intestines, etc. I liked it.

  2. who would have thought that miike would make a movie i could watch all the way thugorh without having to look away? i watched this on netflix streaming last night and quite enjoyed it. i haven’t seen seven samurai in ages so couldn’t figure out a relationship, and in general i wasn’t sure if the film was trying to be anything more than a samurai action movie. a specific thing that i didn’t understand: the hunter/thief who joins them in the forest: he gets a sword thugorh the neck and seems to die. then he pops up at the end, none the worse for wear, and skips off into the sunset. does this signal that there’s been a break in the seeming realism? that, in fact, they all died before getting the lord and miike’s just been letting the audience get their genre desires? someone explain this to me.

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