Saturday, November 28, 2009

Izo (2004)

A Shogun warrior is cast through time, heaven, and hell, battling his way through gods and humans alike to avenge his death in another case of style over substance from Takashi Miike. I think it's safe to say I have no idea what this film is about. Watching it is like reading a book where the pages have been shuffled and chapters have been lost. As a piece of film art, it offers beautiful cinematography and set design combined with organic fight choreography that feels like a hybrid between CROUCHING TIGER and HIGHLANDER. The problem is, while the battles are well done, it is the same boring sword fighting scenes over and over and over for two hours, with virtually no story or gore to justify the mundane action. It strives to be profound and intentionally offensive through what I am assuming is supposed to be political, social, sexual, and religious commentary, but all of the meaning is lost on the audience due to the cryptic plotting tools. I was checked out well before the first hour, but kept watching to maintain my integrity. For bizarre, non-linear sword fighting action, check this one out, otherwise avoid.

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 5/10.
Gore: 4/10.
Number of views: 1.

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  1. The description sounds amazing, but I am always hesitant going into a Miike movie.

  2. My warnings are never enough for you are they, Carl?

    As I said in my review (cheap plug for Mondo Bizarro), the movie is only good for certain parts, namely the lake-to-classroom segue, the cameo by Bob Sapp and the bit where Izo kills Izo.

    Of course, if you only like certain parts, why not just use YouTube?

  3. Its my sick, morbid curiosity and the fact that my co-worker has a seemingly endless J-Horror collection =D

  4. Trust me Carl, nobody knows what Izo is about myself included. I own a lot of Takashi Miike films and when somebody says whaht was Happiness of the Katakuris is about I say: lactating milk boobies.

  5. Accurate lol.. Thats pretty much the same description I would give

  6. Miike has stated the film is intentionally confusing and the audience should make up their own minds as to what is going on. The film is a little easier to "understand" if you see the 1969 film TENCHU starring Shintaro Katsu as Izo. It ends the way this film begins. Katsu was world famous for his portrayal of Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman in over two dozen movies during the 60's, 70's and one film in 1989 as well a hundred episodes of the television series.

  7. Ive just come to accept him as an Expressionist artist at this point, at the end of many of his films I just feel like I should have come up with some sort of grand meaning or at least some impression of how I feel about the films and I walk away empty.

  8. I had trouble making it through Izo too. It is a nice looking film and the fight scenes are good enough I guess, but the lack of solid narrative kept me from being completely in tune with this film and I just end up getting bored. One of Miike's misses that should have been a total hit.


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