Ichi the Killer (2001)

Genres - Action, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama  |   Release Date - May 23, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 129 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong , Japan , Korea, South   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jonathan Crow

In Takashi Miike's freakishly intense world, the tormentor and the tormented are locked in a cycle of retribution and outlandish violence where torture, dismemberment, and evisceration are the norm. Crisply edited and employing some mind-boggling camera techniques, the film -- as in Miike's other works -- creates mordantly funny moments that are as pungent as they are memorable. At one point, Kakihara, as an act of atonement, cuts off his pierced tongue only to take a cell phone call immediately afterwards. At another, a cascade of blood, bowels, and body parts spills into a hallway immediately after Ichi enters a room. Yet for all of Miike's visual invention and wit, the film's dubious treatment of women might leave a bad taste in the mouth of the most hardened Asian cult film buff. Every woman in the flick is brutalized in a manner that borders on the pornographic (including rape and genital mutilation) and then killed. While some might be exhilarated by Miike's brilliant camera work and imagery, others might be inclined to take a bath.