Sukiyaki Western: Django

4 03 2008

As soon as I heard that Takeshi Miike was remaking Sergio Corbucci’s Django with a mostly Japanese cast, and that it would be set in the 1100’s with guns, I was instantly hooked. I felt like this movie was made for me, and after finally seeing it (thanks Internet), I can say that this is one amazing movie mash up.

I was dubious at first, because I had only seen two other Miike films: Audition and Iichi the Killer. I loved Audition, but very strongly hated Iichi. Audition was so disturbing, but Iichi just seemed like a boring way to watch violence. But I love Corbucci’s original Django. I first discovered the film in a long closed Fan video store called VideoMania, and had recently re-fallen in love with it after my girlfriend gave me the new Blue Underground DVD release for my birthday. I was so impressed this second time that I wrote a song for the lead actor Franco Nero called Nero (woah…the creative forces at work here are SERIOUS). So I was very surprised late last year to learn that this very film was getting the Miike treatment.

The film opens, of course, with Quentin Tarantino in front of a mountain-scape painted background. He cuts into the stomach of a snake who had just partially devoured a chicken egg. He takes the egg out and wipes the blood off while behind him, a few thugs get ready to kill him. As soon as they speak, you realize that they are all Japanese and no matter how good or bad they are with English, they are all speaking it. Tarantino sets up the story as a battle between a gang dressed in white and one dressed in red before quickly killing the thugs and then beating the egg he recovered with chopsticks. AMAZING!

The film quickly establishes a great atmosphere through the combination of broken english, and many film genre conventions from Westerns Italian and American, Samurai films, and cartoons (anime), and it all blends together to create a completely unique little movie. There are too many great scenes and ideas to list here, but I will just say that like a lot of great mash up artists (Madlib comes to mind) Miike throws a ton of ideas at you, and they all work together–even when he forces his actors to speak a foreign language (much like Italian directors did).

Now, I hope that this movie will get a theatrical release in the U.S.




One response

1 05 2009
Django (1966) | RVANews

[…] Fans of Django should also check out the recent film by Japanese director Takashi Miike called Sukiyaki Western Django. This movie is Miike’s modern mashup of all things Corbucci, and is good, but better appreciated after seeing the works that inspired it (notably Django, and The Great Silence). I went into greater detail on that film here. […]

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