Yakuza boss Anjo disappears with three hundred million yen. His loyal gang members, led by the masochist Kakihara, start a search, but their aggressive and gory methods worry the other yakuza gangs. Kakihara's most frightening counterpart is the mysterious Ichi, a psychopathic killer with a dark childhood secret, who is controlled by a retired cop.
Cast & Credits
Takashi Miike is one of my favorite directors. Being the lord of gore is one of the main reason why I like him and Ichi the Killer is absolutely the epitome symphony of violence Miike ever made. I am into bloody productions: mutilation, torturing, splatter-gore, cutting body parts to pieces, heads rolling and everything that belongs to the category; you can call me eccentric or a psycho but those are my personal references and a part of my real life job. However, the reason why I liked Ichi the Killer and many of Miike’s films is not the gore for the sake of gore, it’s true that I like that element but it’s not enough to make me like a film, there has to be a message and a meaning behind it all.
Ichi the Killer has a dark graphic storyline; it tells the story of Ichi, a psycho killer who split people to halves and sometimes to little pieces through razors in his shoes and Kagihara, the masochist who’s looking for the killer of his gang’s leader who happens to be Ichi. That’s the general plot but there’s much more behind the events and the characters’ development, the hidden meanings and the final reveal of the characters’ relationships was pretty amazing and let’s not forget the mind-boggling ending that keeps your imagination wild. None of this would have been done without the fantastic performances of the charismatic brilliant actor Asano Tadanobu and Omori Nao, who had to play a childish character at one second and a sadist killer at the next moment.
Now let’s talk about violence, the main lead in this film; it was creative and pretty well-made sadist type of violence. People call Miike a “cult” or a “sadist” director and he probably is, the way he shot the explicit gore scenes was truly brilliant with all of those cutting and blood’s splashing everywhere. It makes this film one of the kind if we consider how far he went with bloody scenes, I haven’t seen that anywhere before. What also makes the violence special is that it was entertaining, I found myself laughing at few scenes and no, it’s not because of my sick personality; there were some amazing dark humor moments inserted in this film because Miike can mix gore and comedy so well (think Dead or Alive trilogy).
-You like gory films with a meaningful storyline.
-You like Takashi Miike’s way of making films because this is probably his best work.
-You like bizarre Japanese productions.
Do not watch if:
-This is absolutely NOT for the faint of heart.
-You dislike anything that has to do with gore or you can only handle a little amount of it.
-You dislike over-the-top violence.
-You’re easily disturbed or grossed.
Ichi the Killer is the highest level of cinematically shot violence. It’s without doubt not for everyone, it can be a hit or a miss, some would find it a masterpiece and others would run away from the first few scenes. It’s bloody as hell and I completely loved it.
This is a great movie if you get in that weird mood where you want to watch one of those strange Japanese horror/gore movies.