Friday, 12 June 2009

SUKIYAKI WESTERN: DJANGO


Yep, I am going to write something about a Japanese western. I could blame Bill Crider for this after all he did post the trailer on his blog - but I won't because the trailer just does not do this 2007 movie justice.
Takashi Miike directed this movie in English with Japanese actors and, also, co-wrote the screenplay with Masa Nakamura.
The movie takes a fistful of Sergio Leone, adds a dash of Sergio Corbucci, a tip of the hat to 'Hannie Caulder' and The Bride from 'Kill Bill'.
And not forgetting William Shakespeare's 'King Henry the Sixth', War of the Roses and 'Romeo and Juliet'.
To the film a stranger with no name rides into a Nevada town and finds that there are two factions - The Reds and The Whites - and with him in the middle. With that you know the rest of the story - that is if you have already seen either 'Yojimbo' or 'A Fistful Of Dollars' or both.
But then again - it is fun to see bits and pieces from other films being played out by the 'wrong' characters. Like the leader of the white faction unrolling the bag of guns as Lee Van Cleef does in 'For A Few Dollars More' or the coffin with a Gatling gun in it being dragged down a muddy road from the back of a wagon and captured by the red faction - the leader of whom wears steel armour beneath his clothes.
A quick backflash scene shows Quentin Tarrantino in the role of Ringo who can't see the point of teaching a woman, Ruriko, how to handle a gun if she's rubbish at cooking a straight Japanese meal.
Ruriko is played by Kaori Momoi who has a couple of good 'Kill Bill' moments as a flying female gunfighter.
Into the final moments and only the man with no name or the Gunman (played by Hideaki Ito) and the leader of the white faction remain alive - only a Japanese Samurai would take a sword to a gunfight - and it starts to snow and thoughts of 'The Great Silence' come to mind.
The film runs for 94 minutes and has a soundtrack that sounds like a quirky mix of Ennio Morricone done Japanese style.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film but purists of westerns - or spaghetti westerns come to that - might not see it that way.

4 comments:

Scott Parker said...

I really liked this film, too. I just loved the juxtaposition of, well, everything. I liked that the sign read "Nevada" and then didn't look like Nevada at all. I liked how the Quentin scene was shot on an obvious set. Yes, this is not one for the purist but it's a dang good film and one not to be missed.

ARCHAVIST said...

I love this movie

Paul Brazill said...

Looks like great fun!

Randy Johnson said...

I have this one, it came during the week, but haven't had the time to watch. Having recently seen Django for the first time, when I saw the trailer I was immediately attracted. It looks like a lot of fun.