Friday, May 28, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010: A Takeshi Kitano Double Bill

Having just removed all wisdom from my head, I figured this was the best time to write reviews for the public to see and judge.

Now, some may consider this an overused joke for one having had their wisdom teeth removed, but the drugs I'm on at the moment have certainly altered my state of mind, so the joke still stands. If it can even be considered a joke. Everything sort of seems funny at the moment.

#77. Zatôichi (2003)

Let me just say I love random, excessive blood splatter and this film has enough of it to satiate just about anyone's fancy. In this, "Beat" Takeshi Kitano takes an old Japanese samurai film, television and book character and reintroduces him to a more modern generation with loads of charisma and style. Zatôichi is a blind masseur and extremely skilled swordsman who walks the roads of Japan, aiding those he comes across though they usually assume they'll be giving him a hand. The film itself is visually stunning; its vibrant colours add especially to the action sequences when red is the hue to be as blood sprays and splatters in exorbitant amounts. One of my favourite aspects were the musical undertones, which begin subtly with the rice farmers' beat as they work in the field. By the end this becomes a full blown musical sequence; colourful, transfixing and somewhat mind-boggling, it reminds me of an epic Bollywood style dance featuring Japanese townspeople. I also liked that there were moments of sincerity and real emotion in the film, and that these gave the violence reason and thus more impact. I'd definitely check this one out if you're in the mood for an action/samurai film that's funny, bloody, heartfelt and features a kick ass blind swordsman.

#78. Sonatine (1993)

So, I'll admit that the only reason I watched this was because it was on the flip side of the Zatôichi DVD, which shouldn't actually deter you from renting it as you'll probably want to see the above after my stunning review. Sonatine is quite different from Zatôichi. Besides Beat Takeshi once again performing the lead role, it is less stylized, less humorous, slower, and though it contains bloody violence, there is less of it. It's more about the inner transformation of a middle-aged Yakuza who is sent with a few men to a rural town to settle a gang war, upon arriving it's soon clear that he's been sent for quite different reasons. He spends most of his time on the beach, contemplating his occupation and falling for a young woman. It's a more poetic film, though one I doubt I'll return to.

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