Sukiyaki Western Django

Sukiyaki Wester Django (2007) movie poster

(2007) dir. Takashi Miike
viewed: 10/23/08 at The Bridge Theater, SF, CA

Part homage, part mashup, part gooffest, Sukiyaki Western Django is cult director Takashi Miike’s bizarro take on the Spaghetti Western, mixed with several parts Samurai flick and a lot of just out-and-out weirdness.  The weirdness is really more in the overall aesthetic and approach.  It’s intentionally bad.  It is intentionally bad, right?  The acting is, most certainly.

The film is in English, though is stars a largely Japanese cast who have varying degrees of pronunciation.  I’ve read that this is perhaps a reference to the dubbing of the Spaghetti Westerns or the weirdness of their dialogue recording.  The acting varies greatly in degrees of over-the-top hammy-ness.  This is broadened and exemplified by the unfortunate choice of having Quentin Tarantino show up in the film.  He is perhaps the worst actor out there, but again, he seems to be a bit intentionally bad, too.  He can’t possibly be serious, I suppose.

The opening sequence, which turns out to be a flashback as well as a metaphor, is on a strange faux-Western set, clearly different from the location shooting of the rest of the film.  It draws attention to the film’s artifice, sets a tone of camp, and lets you know that you are in for a rough hour and forty minutes or so, if you were expecting quality and not just spectacle.

Somehow, it seemed not just novel but kind of interesting, having one of the most prolific and bizarre cult/exploitation filmmakers of today marrying up East-West in the Spaghetti West.  But the thing that the film suffers from is its lack of seriousness.  The Westerns, like Django (1966) and those of Sergio Leone, those films had a lot of humor and irony and spectacle, but there was more at play in the films than genre play.  They weren’t just goof-fests.

Well, it doesn’t matter why I think this film failed, but I didn’t care for it.  There are a handful of scenes that look cool and can be plastered together in a trailer to whet one’s appetite, but it’s largely tedious junk.

Someone please stop Quentin Tarantino from acting.

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