Sukiyaki Western Django - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sukiyaki Western Django Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2009
I had no idea what i was expecting. But plenty of action, plenty of insanity. This was one of the most intriguing films ive seen in a long long time.
Super Reviewer
½ November 22, 2008
A lone gunman rides into a small town being ravaged by a war between two rival gangs. In Japan. Yet another remake of Yojimbo (sort of!) it's more an amalgam of Yojimbo and its most celebrated cover version, A Fistful of Dollars. It's obvious why Quentin Tarantino got involved because it is EXACTLY the kind of idiosyncratic, genre-clashing cinematic remix that has become his bread and butter. Full of quirky characters, tongue in cheek humour and cartoon violence, SWD is really a super-stylized gangster movie that's both an affectionate homage and parody of the American western. Reminding me most of the post modern westerns of Robert Rodriguez and Sam Raimi's The Quick And The Dead, this semi-humorous update of a cinematic icon is also quite reminiscent of Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi. The biggest problem with it is Miike's decision to make the actors speak English; I can see why he did it, but the cast's grasp of the language is limited at best to the point where I had to switch the subtitles on (a fact that made me feel like an isolationist hick!) This obviously seriously compromises the dialogue and its delivery, which is fine during the action sequences but character driven drama goes straight out of the window. A bit like Hot Fuzz, it's probably a film that will be appreciated a lot more by an audience who get the references and if you can get past the language barrier (and I can see how some wouldn't) it's actually a lot of fun.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2012
An eccentric and often extremely entertaining flick from Mr. Miike. Quentin Tarantino's turn in the film is also a comedic highlight.
Super Reviewer
½ February 20, 2012
I was excited to see this film, since (in Japan, anyway) it was promoted as Miike's first collaboration with writer Masa Nakamura since the softly philosophical The Bird People in China. Plus, what arthouse fan wouldn't be interested in seeing Miike's stab at a Western? Well, he certainly pays the proper respects to Leone, Corbucci, and Kurosawa, but this film read like a style exercise with clever references, and nothing more. Making the curious decision to cast Japanese actors to speak English renders every annunciation and inflection awkward and disengaging. It's almost as if Miike wanted to keep the audience at bay, and in turn, his characters two-dimensional. Sure, there are some terrific shots and the production design is gorgeous, but unfortunately this is just another annoying "postmodern/revisionist" film that isn't meant to be engaged with, but is meant to be watched with a smug and hip ironic detachment. It's a film that is championed by "film people" who look around and say "Aren't I cool for laughing at this?" No, you're not. You're what's wrong with the industry today.

If this analysis appears to be too critical or negative, look at which famous director makes an eye-rolling cameo in the opening scene: the poster child for hip, self-referential cinema and the man who has single-handedly killed film art forever, Mr. Quentin Tarantino. Miike is better than this.
Super Reviewer
½ December 19, 2009
Fantastic Spaghetti Western from the East.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2008
The right balance between comedy and homage, Kim Ji Woon please take note, this is how you do it. This movie will certainly appeal more to genre fans, but it's still a lot of fun even if you never watched a single western in your life.
Super Reviewer
½ August 17, 2009
Though this film felt VERY self-indulgent (looking at you Tarantino) was also at times a lot of fun to watch. Visually it's quite stunnig.

The biggest problem for me (aside from Tarantino's HORRIBLE "acting") was some of the casts attempts at "English".

While I GET the appeal in this case of having the cast speaking old school "American"...I almost feel like the accents were SO thick at times that I missed out on some of the nuances of the dialog and story in general.
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2009
Miike tries his hand at the Western genre as only he can. It is 100% Miike and 100% Western. So we have a mix that shouldn't work, with an all Japanese cast speaking in English, samurai swords and a sheriff with a split personality. As long as you watch expecting a Miike Western then that is exactly what you will get. In that regard it is a success. It's cheap and interesting but The Good The Bad The Weird and Tears of the Black Tiger did it better. There's a warped sense of humour and a few scenes with Quentin Tarantino. The pacing is kind of off and it drags on for many scenes. Don't let this be your first Miike experienceand it may help to have an appreciation of Westerns too.
Super Reviewer
January 5, 2009
After watching it a second time I admit I may have been a little harsh with it's 2 1/2 star rating.
It has it's moments of pure Miike genius (like the gun battles and it's off-key humor) but it suffers from too much dialogue and unneeded exposition.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2007
Leave it to Takashi Miike to make a western film out of Japan. It does sound weird and if you know Miike's previous works, you know this will fit right in his directing resume.The story isn't anything special, but it does fit nicely with the western theme. Actually, you need to take the western theme and add some Japanese flavor to it. The first 30-40 minutes or so is a little bit of a letdown. It almost feels like you are watching some sort of Miike ... well ... soap opera. Visually it is entertaining, but you're sitting there wondering where this movie is going. Fortunately, the film redeems itself in the last 40 minutes with the final 20 delivering quite a shootout.While we are on the subject of action, it is a little slow going in the first half, as it just hints that great stuff is on its way. The second half is where it all comes out. There is a ton of shooting with the inclusion of a gatling gun and even a sword by the Genji clan leader.The acting doesn't seem all that good and that is because all the dialogue is in ENGLISH. I know there is a western theme to this picture, but Japanese dialogue from JAPANESE actors is still OK. This film is weird enough as it is. What's wrong with adding Japanese dialogue? Even though the actors speak English, it really helps to have the English subtitles on because of the heavy accents. Out of all the actors, Hideaki Ito and Kaori Momoi are the only ones that are worth noting, with the latter being the better of the 2. Quentin Tarantino should stay as a director. He is just too weird. Yes, even for a Miike film.If you can get over and put up with the English dialogue, Sukiyaki Western Django is a nice watch for Miike fans.
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2008
Sukiyaki: A popular Japanese dish made with beef and usually containing soy sauce, bean curd, and greens, cooked in a single pot at the table. Simple ingredients cooked together without added broths to create a unique essence that is truly Japanese.

Django: A cult film considered by many as one of the best examples of the spaghetti western, with a stirring musical score, gunfights, and a quiet anti-hero who famously drags a coffin.

Taking these definitions from some of the promotional material I've read for Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django saves a lot of time in trying to explain this eclectic film. As the title metaphor implies, it's a mixed pot of flavors. There's a bit of the West, a bit of the East, and even a cameo appearance by Quentin Tarantino.

Loosely speaking, it's a western action movie. It features a Clint Eastwood-style man with no name (played by Hideaki Ito), a lone gunfighter who's playing two rival gangs against each other for his own purposes. As director Miike explains in a making-of featurette, you already know this story, so skip trying to understand it and get straight to enjoying it.

Miike is best known in the United States for his extremely violent and perverse horror and action films, such as Audition and Ichi the Killer. Yet he's one of Japans most prolific filmmakers, with over 70 films, TV specials, and videos to his credit. He?s worked in a number of different genres and styles, and that range is profoundly evident in Sukiyaki Western Django.

One of the most fascinating things about watching this movie is how familiar everything is, yet how strange it seems. Miike has his Japanese cast speak English as best they can, imbuing clichéd lines that we've all heard thousands of times with strange rhythms. The costuming is based in westerns but given a punk edge. There are gunfights and swordfights and mixtures of the two that blend the traditional iconographies of spaghetti westerns and samurai epics into a unique style.

And style is really what the film is all about. For some, it will be off-putting,a film so impressed with its own inventiveness that it fails to draw them in. For others, it'll be a sublime mixture of the pop culture of multiple eras'a high-speed, full-color Frankenstein messiah for genres that have long since ceased being innovative. While I could endlessly pick apart and analyze its idiosyncrasies, I'll take a page from Miike and just say that it's a pretty damned cool ride. But it really all depends, I suppose, on how you like your sukiyaki.
Super Reviewer
November 11, 2008
Four decades after Seigo Leone pinched Kurosawa's Yojimbo to make A Fistful of Dollars. Director Takashi Miike has smuggled the story back to Japan. It's a mash-up of Leone spaghetti western and post-apocalyplic samurais, with even a bit of Baz Luhrmann razzle dazzle thrown in.
The resulting action is frenetic, inventive and plenty. And check out the cameo performance by Quentin Tarantino.
Super Reviewer
November 2, 2008
To be honest, I really owe this another viewing. My friend got an advance-release DVD from the studio and brought it over for seven or eight of us to watch, but after we learned that the dialogue is in heavily-accented Engrish, we tuned most of the movie out and talked. To not subtitle the movie or have the actors speak in their native tongue is an incredibly dubious directorial choice. It probably worked better in Japan, accompanied by Japanese subtitles, a context that might make Japanese actors speaking English badass. Unfortunately, it makes following the plot sort of tedious for a viewer here in the states. As blasphemous as this may sound, Sukiyaki Western Django really deserves a dub track.

I don't mean to get all xenophobic up in here, especially since the rest of the movie is pretty great. The gunplay is exciting and Takashi Miike's filming is the strongest it's ever been. The movie gets excessive at times, but Miike wraps his world in enough subtle quirk to keep this from becoming a chronic problem. The plot looks like nothing interesting - again, I can't really tell you for sure since we all tuned out the dialogue - but I'll be damned if this wasn't a style-over-substance exercise for Miike anyway. This film is definitely not for everyone, but if you're in the mood for a beautifully violent Western homage, check this one out.

P.S. an open note to Quentin Tarantino: stop acting. You are wasting our time and yours. Stay behind the camera.
Super Reviewer
½ May 10, 2008
The weirdest western film I have seen. Actually, its the only weird western film there is!

Takashi Miike (I don't know the guy's previous works) is apparently a big shot director in Japan and his latest film "Sukiyaki Western Django" is an ode to Italian spaghetti Westerns and directors like Corbucci, Leone and Kurosawa. The film is about a gunslinger who is thrust in the middle of a town where two warring clans, the White Genjis and the Red Heikes, duke it out for the rumored treasure hidden deep in the town.

When I first heard about the film, I expected a lot of good old shootouts, above awesome dialogs and really, really cool characters. Upon watching it I only ended up with the really cool characters. The dialogs and script was not that bad but it would be really cool if the characters aren't stuttering with their "engrish". I honestly cannot understand what they're saying, I found it really hard to keep track with the flow of the story. The action is a complete zero. Its like hunting down the Loch Ness and you end up with a tadpole. The big showdown in the end wasn't really that cool and the supposed climax was a quick 5 second fight scene between the Gunman and the Genji leader.

Halfway through the film you'll find yourself painfully listen to the engrish these characters speak and you'd rather just get on with the ending than endure the carabao language, bad dialog and bizarre scenarios. On a positive note, the characters in the film looked really cool even though they were drenched in either white or red. Was there a dress code back in the 1100's?

The Genji leader, sporting a frizzy windblown hairstyle, is a skilled gunman and swordsman. His coolness factor went off the roof when he shot his gun sideways and the bullet went straight to the poor guy with red highlights. The Heike leader's coolness factor went off the charts when he shot the white boys with a gatling gun. Quentin Tarantino makes an appearance as Bloody Benten's husband, Ringo. Bloody Benten is a skilled marksman with eight hands, figuratively speaking. She helps the Gunman in the end but is soon killed by a conniving Gollum-like Sheriff.

"Sukiyaki" is style over substance. It had so much style that it affected the substance. 2.5/5
Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2009
"Sukiyaki Western Django" is an entertaining and funky homage to spaghetti westerns, especially the original "Django"(the theme plays over the final credits and the coffin puts in an appearance) that more than easily stands on its own, even though an early scene originally threatens to indicate otherwise. A conflict between Genji(white) and Heike(red) gangs has spilled over into a mining town in Nevada, driving away almost all of the citizens as the gangs take over the mining operations. Into this stalemate, rides a lone gunslinger(Hideaki Ito) and the heated negotiations for his services are just as intense as those for a professional athlete. I thought I knew what was going to happen next until a lone voice warns him not to pull any of this Yojimbo stuff and the spell is broken.

For a movie with Quentin Tarantino playing a role, it is strange that, outside of an anachronistic anime reference, the cultural references actually rely a lot on Shakespeare, especially Henry VI. So much so, that the red leader Kiyomori(Koichi Sato) takes the name of Henry, as he explains the connection to The War of the Roses. No, this is not the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner/Danny DeVito movie he is talking about but the English wars of succession in the 15th century.(Regardless, the movie is very much recommended.) Although with the red and the white, the Russian Civil War works just as well. And as long as we are talking about Shakespeare, then there must be a doomed romance whch comes in the person of Akira(Shun Oguri) and Shizuka(Yoshino Kimura) from separate gangs who married and had a child before Akira was gunned down by his own gang. Her rescue from the whites kicks off the gunslinger's involvement in the bloody conflict.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2011
Meant to be over the top and completely insane. It's also fun and entertaining. Just get past the engrish voice dubs and you'll be fine.
Super Reviewer
½ August 10, 2009
Yojimbo with the addition of snow and blood , roses that bloom in winter, English with Japanese accents, a female gunslinger, and a LOT of shooting.
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2009
What - the - hell. I guess you would call this experimental cinema? A brave twist on an established movie genre? Personally, I call it utter and complete trash. The decision to hire non-English speaking actors in English speaking roles was certainly an artistic consideration, but fails horribly.

I knew this was going to be a train wreck five minutes into it, but tried to look for the positive and be open to the experience. Half an hour later, I just gave up on this piece of junk. Added downfall: That three minutes of Quentin Tarantino "acting" will be burned into my retinas for all of eternity. Aaaaagggg.
Super Reviewer
½ July 22, 2008
Most excellent. Sergio Leone stole from Kurosawa, so having Takashi Miike steal from Leone just feels right. Hell, you even have a "Man With No Name" type character thrown into the mix! But a spaghetti-western seen through Miike's eyes is quite a unique ride, despite some obviously borrowed elements.

I think the only negative thing I have to say about this flick is that it was pretty obvious the Japanese cast learned their English lines phonetically, which lead to some awkward deliveries and lost lines here and there. Other than that, you've got a tried-and-true story of two warring factions, and a nameless gunman stuck in the middle. Add to that mix some inspired, gleefully excessive (but not in a bad way) shootouts, and you've got yourself a treat unlike any other.
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2009
Fun - though nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is.
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