Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)
There is nothing more frustrating then seeing something that should have been great, but simply fell short. That is the case with this film. It had its upsides, great action through out the duration, some amazing set pieces that combine the wild west and ancient Japan into beautiful buildings that look like they would be in 1100 Tokyo, Nevada. Along with the fact that the movie itself looks awesome. There is a slight yellow tint on the film that really adds to the atmosphere.
But it seemed like for every one great thing about the film there were two or three downsides to cancel it out. The whole film was very disjointed, we are introduced to rival gangs The Genji (whites) and the weaker Heike (reds) who are in battling over control of a mountain town in order to find the buried treasure hidden underneath. There is just so much other stuff going on that its almost difficult to follow. The decision by Miike to have his entire Japanese cast (with the exception of Quentin Tarantino) speak English, didn't aid the difficulty of following the story. Japanese with sub-titles would have been a better choice. The best choice of all would have been to not cast Tarantino who manages to single handedly kill every scene he's in with his horrendous acting.
The rest of the actors don't exactly turn in Oscar worthy performances either, though it seems the script, that can't seem to make up its mind whether to have a serious and somber tone or an almost comic book style, isn't aiding them in how to act. There are few moments when you can settle in to the movie and get any sort of continuous vibe from it.
Thats not to say the movie is a total let down. The action scenes were great, though when they strayed from the action the movie did become sluggish. And even some of the comedy was good, it just didn't know when to stop and let it add to the movie instead of hurt it. The serious side of this film was above average, it evoked some real emotion and really got you caring. But it was simply overshadowed by the constant attempt at comedy and how jumpy the whole thing was.
I will add that the last scene, was really great. It defiantly made me feel that sitting through the movie was totally worth it, even if it was average.
There is definate influence from all of the famous spaghetti westerns. Including a Japanese rendition of the Django theme.
Some moments of greatness were scattered among many more moments that had me asking "why?". And when are people going to realize that Quentin Tarantino cannot act?!?