Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya 1) (2001)

Excessive violence from Takashi Miike.
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Ichi the Killer - Excessive Violence from Takashi Miike

Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya 1) is a tremendously violent, tremendously twisted and slightly confusing Yakuza movie with the perverse and bizarre storyline that we have come to expect of Takashi Miike. The gore is excessive, the violence is brutal and there is a plethora of peculiar, complex, drug-fuelled characters, once again typical of this legendary horror master.

The main focus of the movie is around the two main characters. Kakihara, a seriously sadomasochistic Yakuza enforcer who enjoys receiving pain as much as he likes dishing it out, which probably explains why he has to keep his mouth (which has been cut up through his cheeks) closed with safety pins.

Then there is Ichi, a quiet and withdrawn individual, traumatized by witnessing bullies rape a girl in his childhood as he felt the urge to join in rather than stop it. Ichi is completely insane and struggles to differentiate violence and sexual pleasure and when angered he becomes a sobbing killing machine, and I expect that being slashed to bits buy someone in a trashy superhero outfit and razor blade boots would be traumatizing for anyone.

Kakihara's boss Anjo is grotesquely murdered along with anyone else in his vicinity and 300 million Yen is stolen from his room. Kakihara makes it his mission to find his boss' killer and systematically and torturously begins to interrogate important people from the other Yakuza gangs. A certain interrogation involving meat hooks, needles and boiling tempura oil goes a little too far, especially as the victim turns out to be innocent. Kakihara is thrown out of the Yakuza syndicate but during his investigation he got some information from a tousled old man named Jijii and is convinced he can tell him more.

Jijii is in fact orchestrating the whole affair using Ichi's psychosis to manipulate Ichi and use him as a weapon of mass killing destruction. It turns out the traumas of Ichi's life have been made up by Jijii and he uses these false memories to enrage Ichi to send him into a killing rage against the so-called bullies that terrorised him as a youngster.

Kakihara hears about Ichi and whils tracking him down begins to idolize this sadistic murderer hoping that the mythical Ichi is the one person that can give him the ultimate pain that his various companions cannot.

When Kakihara's bloodbath finally leads him to Ichi the twists and turns in the story finally come together and leave the viewer even more confused.

This movie tries to achieve a lot and is watchable on many different levels, all the characters are emotionally twisted in some way or another and all have complicated back histories. The movies is based on a manga hence the total over-the-topness. I feel I should mention again that the gore is excessive and sometimes the special effects let it down but that aside this movie is a definite must for extreme move fans.
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Categories: Asian Horror Movies

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