Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thoughts on... Ichi the Killer

Kakihara...  A face only a mother would love.
Or not.
Hey there.  Welcome to my new series of posts!  Some of the other popular series that I take part on are Funny Friday, Motivational Monday, and the Ode to series.  Today, I am now adding the Thoughts on series to that list.  The vast majority will be based on films since I love to watch movies and they are usually the ones that I talk about the most.  But first, let's lay some guidelines as to how this is going to work.  First and foremost, this is NOT a review, I will NOT tiptoe around certain scenes, and there WILL be spoilers.  I will be speaking as if I'm conversing with someone that has already seen the movie and will express thoughts and emotions that came to be as I watched the movie.  I strongly suggest that if you plan on watching this movie someday, you do it now before I kill it for you.  lol  Maybe my thoughts will be that of the norm or maybe they'll be so out there and people will be like, how did you come up with that?!  I don't know.  I just figured that this would be a good way to convey some of the inner workings of my brain.  lol  So let's begin, no?

Ichi the Killer is a Japanese horror film that I've been wanting to watch forever.  It was sitting in my Netflix instawatch since forever and I couldn't find the time to sit and watch it.  It's not kid friendly and the only time that I managed to catch this was at midnight or so when everyone was asleep.  The movie is not kid friendly.  It deals with death, gore, sex, torture, and the deadly Japanese mafia.  Ingredients for an awesomely, insane movie.  Right away, you see death and blood that literally covers the walls of a hotel room.  I don't know if the excess amount of blood is meant to be comical but I get the impression that the gore level of this movie is going to be cranked up to 11 and it may not take it's self too seriously.
Damn it, Ichi!  Clean up on isle... everywhere!
Anyways, a Yakuza boss is killed and Kakihara, the main guy in this film, and appointed bad ass assassin of all the land, is called in to track down the killer.  Needless to say, the killer is Ichi and the movie plays out like a cat and mouse game.  Ichi, being fed lie and lie, is easily manipulated and when he dons his killing suit, can murder men by the dozens at a time.  He brutally hacks and slices his way through women, men, and anything else in between.  The sad thing about Ichi is not his murderous blindness but his mental state.  The dude has been manipulated to believe that he participated, or witnessed,the rape of a girl and felt powerless to stop it.  Now as an adult, the man that knows Ichi's "secret" constantly feeds Ichi with the location of the "bad men" that raped that girl.  Thus, his killing spree.  As for Kakihara, the man is just a trained assassin for an affliction to pain.  The man wants to be punished, he wants to be challenged, he wants to feel the pain and torture from this killing machine that he hears so much about.  The movie that starts off as a murder mystery quickly turns into one of longing.  Ichi longs for acceptance and Kakihara longs for gratification.

Another thing that stood out to me was the way they portrayed Ichi.  Almost in a Supermanesque sort of way.  Ichi stalks a prostitute whom Ichi has strong feelings for.  He watches from a window as she get beaten and raped by the woman's boyfriend/husband or regular customer on a regular basis.  He pays to see her at the brothel but while others are getting it on, they simply sit and stare at each other.  Ichi is too timid to really do anything.  Out on the streets, he gets pushed around by the surrounding people and he almost get's punked by a couple of kids.  Ichi is portrayed to be somewhat of a wimp.  That is, until he dons his killing suit.  Once he puts that baby on, he's a killing machine.  He even goes to save his "girl" from that brutal relationship while wearing the suit and quickly slices the guy in half.  The girl, showing a mixture of gratitude and remorse towards Ichi, quickly learns that her hero is not all that he's cracked up to be.  Ichi inches his way towards her and says that he will now be the one to beat her and rape her.  Heavy stuff, no?  But it's that moment that you realize this guy has more than a few screws loose inside.  Before we can even grasp this concept, Ichi has already sliced and diced the woman.
Damn... and this is the woman Ichi loves.  Imagine what he'd do to one that got on his nerves.
This whole, a wimp without the suit, but a man of death with it, seemed a little cliché to me but what really threw it over the top was the ending.  We all know that Ichi has issues and we all know he's a little bit of a wuss inside, but during the whole movie, we are being lead down the path that will showcase the showdown between Kakihara and Ichi.  And near the end of the film, Kakihara's facial expressions says it all.  Ichi, killing a man whom he thought was his brother, cries like a baby.  Thus, refusing to fight Kakihara.  Really?  This is our payoff?  Kakihara just stands there, watching him in disbelief.  It got so bad, that Kakihara pretty much said screw this and inserted his metal skewers into his ears to silence Ichi's wails.  I wanted to see a fight.  I wanted it to be epic.  It was a huge disappointment that it didn't happen.
Ichi the Wuss Inside the Black Padded Suit wasn't as catchy a title.
However, the ending managed to throw me into a loop until I caught it at least 3 times.  The ending seems to split and cause confusion as to what really did happen between the 2.  Kakihara closes his eyes, enjoying the silence, but when he opens them, he sees Ichi, ready to battle.  After a brief encounter, Ichi embeds a blade from his boot right into Kakihari's forehead, causing him to fall from the rooftop to his death.  Yet, upon inspection of his body, there is no damage to his forehead.  Hmmm...  Then there's the speculation of what happened to Ichi.  Did he really just stay there on the rooftops and cried himself to death?  And then there's the boy.  Didn't know there was the boy, did you?  lol  The one that kicked the crap out of Ichi as he cried his eyes out.  Was he the one in the final scene of the film?  Did he hang the man on the tree? And was that man the manipulator Jiji or Ichi?  With such an ambiguous ending, you wonder whether or not the story is really over.

So what did you think of the film?  I thought it was a good film.  Something for us horror fans to watch and go "whoa..."  The movie didn't blow me away, and, it may be a sign of the times, but the torture and death scenes were not at all realistic so for those of you that are a little weak in the stomach, you can manage to sit through and watch it.  All in all, this is a sold film to catch and I'm glad that I managed to scratch it off my list of Asian horror films to watch.  Once I get around to watching some more, I'll share some of my thoughts on those.  So... what are your thoughts on Ichi the Killer?  Later!


  1. Sweet review and I 'love' these kinds of films. Asian horrors just got this extra pizzazz over American horror film. Ichi is amazing. Did you see 'I Saw the Devil' yet? Oh you will just love that one.

  2. I haven't caught that film yet! I have it on my must watch list, though. I know u wrote an awesome review and I have to watch it now! Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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