Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
Japan release date: 15th September 2007
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 2nd October 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is director Takashi Miike’s homage to the spaghetti western. I did find it kind of odd watching a western with Asian actors in an Asian setting, but at the end of the day it was pretty well done and there was a neat little cameo from a certain Quentin Tarantino. But more of that later, here’s a short summary first.
Two clans, the Reds and the Whites are fighting over a treasure believed to be buried in or around a small village. Most of the villagers have left, leaving the mayor and a few others in between the clans. Into this situation comes a lone gunman who immediately proves his worth. Both clans vie for his services but an old woman tells him to think it over first, which he does. She tells him of a woman, of the white clan, who fell in love with and had a child with a man of the red clan. They lived in the village until the young man was killed by the red clan leader. She then went to the white clan for sanctuary but was just abused and kept as a concubine by their leader. Their son will no longer speak and lives with the old woman. The gunman goes the whites and tries to buy the freedom of the young woman but is ultimately unsuccessful. So he sets up an ambush that results in the Reds and the Whites almost annihilating each other. Surprisingly, the old woman turns out to be a great ally in this adventure. I really don’t want to say any more, I think that’s more than enough to whet your appetite.
This is a very well made film, as I said at the beginning, the setting is Asia and all of the actors, apart from Tarantino are Asian. This unfortunately has the side-effect that the accents make quite a lot of the dialogue quite hard (for me) to undrestand clearly. Having said that, the cinematography is really well done, also the stunts are superb.
The plot seems to have been heavily based on the 1964 Sergio Leone film, A Fistful of Dollars which kind of makes it a bit easier to follow. There are, of course, plenty of twists and turns in it that deviate from the original which does keep the audience interested. Over all, it’s a pretty entertaining film although it can be a bit gory for those of a nervous disposition and there's the language problem I mentioned earlier. But I pretty much enjoyed it, so it’s recommended.
My score: 6.4/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0906665/