Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Directed by Takashi Miike and released in 2004

In 1865 when the Shogunate is on its last legs but still capable of punishing its enemies, one is Izo an assassin in the service of Hanpeida, a Tosa lord and Imperial supporter. After killing dozens of the Shogun's men Izo is captured and crucified. Instead of being extinguished his rage propels him through the space-time continuum to present-day Tokyo where his finds himself one with the city's homeless. Here Izo transforms himself into a new improved killing machine his entire soul still enraged by his treatment in his past life. His response to the powers-that-be whose predecessors put him to death is the sword.

Bizarre. Bizarre. Bizarre. I've only seen 60 or so Japanese films including samurai flicks but I don't think there are many that could be more bizarre and wacko as this one. The movie kept getting more and more bizarre but after seeing the school hallway scene with the zombie women and the naked children, that was it for me. Holy crap.

The movie was bizarre. Then a little later it got bizarre. Then...it really got bizarre. Did I mention this movie was bizarre. But actually, it was't that bad. It was just a little BIZARRE. When Bob Sapp made his entrance, that was it. Oh wait, after the lady near the end got her head cut off and a GIANT FRICKIN CATERPILLER CRAWLED OUT, then I really knew how bizarre it was. I needed some medication or a psychiatrist after watchin' this film because I seriously thought I was hallucinating. The director Miike was smoking something when he made this film.

Horrible movie. Don't waste your time.


  1. Does it make me a severely unbalanced and disturbed human being that I really like this film? Judging by the unanimous opinion about it, I think so <:)

    This was the funniest review I've read yet. And even as a fan of it, I always skip past the Bob Sapp bit. Taaacky!

  2. It had some good parts and some good imagery such as the trucks swerving around the sword fighters. And the tortured soul and endless hell that Izo was in was a good story. I liked the guitar playing singer as well. But the rest. No thanks.

  3. Is this bizarre like "Gozu" bizarre? Or just bizarre?

    I am not sure if I can handle a movie more bizarre then "Gozu"!

    Face it that birthing scene in Gozu was just too bizarre!

  4. I have not seen Gozu so I am not sure how they compare. I know there are a lot of weird Japanese movies out there so there may be many that are stranger than Izo. But Izo was just really weird.

  5. All I remember about this movie...was that it was so strange I stopped watching it!

    your review is right on target!

  6. I've heard most people say that Gozu had a bit more clarity for them than Izo. From what I gather, Izo was pretty much an extravagant gift to Kazuya Nakayama (who plays Izo) and the ontological aesthetics were kind of secondary. Whereas Gozu - though I haven't seen it - has philosophy right at it's centre.

    I've seen the role of Kazuki Tomokawa (the folk singer) derided a lot in reviews. I think he's one of the most cohesive things about the movie...and he's cool.

  7. For these types of movies, the philosophical aspect should be front and center.

    I'm going to have to pick up Gozu.

  8. You can grab a copy of Gozu at Animae Jungle. They keep a copy on hand.