Anyone that follows the films of Takashi Miike already knows they’re going to be in for a wild or violent ride that’s usually a mix of both. One of his classics is the 2001 live-action adaptation of the infamous Ichi the Killer manga by Hideo Yamamoto. The film still remains popular to this day thanks in part to Miike’s surreal directing style along with loads of violence that isn’t for the faint of heart. Now it looks and sounds better than ever with the release of Ichi the Killer: Definitive Remastered Edition that brings the pain for fans and newcomers alike.
As with a lot of Miike’s works, this one follows some Yakuza gangs at war with each other with a member of one named Ichi (Nao Omori) who thinks his boss has been taken away by a rival gang. This leads him to go on a violent rampage to find his leader by torturing anyone that can give him answers to his whereabouts. He also takes very great pleasure in other’s pain and suffering which happens to be some of the things he’s really good at providing. Without giving away too much, as the violence and body count piles up, Ichi finds out that everything isn’t what it seems when manipulation, backstabbing, and psychosis come into play as only the great Takashi Miike could unleash on film.
I finally got to see why a lot of people hold this film in high regard as it is a blood-filled masterpiece that definitely isn’t for those with a weak stomach. Ichi does all sorts of sick things to get what he wants, from hanging people on hooks all over their body to even more extreme methods of torture I dare not go into. The film looks and sounds great thanks to the remastering and being released on Blu-ray. You can definitely tell the visuals and audio have been improved and make it feel as though this was released a few years ago instead of seventeen. Surprisingly there isn’t much in the way of special features outside of an audio commentary track with director Takashi Miike and the creator of the manga Hideo Yamamoto as they discuss the film and how it compares to the manga and such. I also have to say that this is the first time I’ve experienced a commentary track that has subtitles as they’re speaking in their native Japanese language.
If you have the stomach for it and you’re looking for some intense thrills that only Takashi Miike can give, then go ahead and take a look at Ichi the Killer: Definitive Remastered Edition. Rarely do movies get as bloody and psychologically disturbing as this one, and it’s easily a twisted masterpiece in this regard. Other viewers will want to look away and check out some of Miike’s tamer releases instead.