This Review Contains minor spoilers that are evident the second their hint is dropped if you have ever watched 2 or more westerns.
I feel like the old Reese cup commercial “You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!“
Husband LOVES, like, stans Old westerns and I have been subject to having to watch everything from John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone for most of our 25 years together.
So when he found Sukiyaki Western Django, he thought this would be the best way to blend our 2 loves. I was totally sceptical. I really don’t like Westerns. So I sat down to watch this Quentin Tarantino/Takashi Miike collaboration, it was to humour the man I live with.
It was better done than I expected. It pulls from every western ever done (some of which were based on Kurosawa Akira films anyhow) adds in the names of Heike and Genji, a little sprinkle of Django symbolism and a hefty dose of comedy brought you from the Sherriff played by Teruyuki Kagawa.
Because we watched it together, I asked Hubby to guest write his pov for this movie.
Delcar (the Husbando) here. I’m a fan of Chambara films, Kurasawa, Classic Kaiju films, and a big fan of Spaghetti westerns and classic westerns.
Let’s talk about some of the Cast.
All of the cast did a good job and seemed as though had a fun time making it. These are the roles that stood out for me. If I talked about all of the cast, it would be as long as the movie and I would rather you watch it. Delcar states the movies doesn’t have characters, it has archetypes, and that’s fine for this movie.
The Unnamed Gunman
The stereotypical Hero of the movie, every mannerism expected played to the degree one would expect from early westerns.
The Hidden Identity Grandma. (Ruriko/Bloody Benton)
She swaggers into the middle of a standoff between the 2 gangs (Red-Heike and White-Genji) to offer refuge for the Gunman with zero fear. Oguri Shun has a cameo spot as her son.
The Sherriff almost steals the show played by Kagawa Teruyuki his Gollum-like antics are great for a slightly understated comic relief in the over the top action movie.
Costumes, a blend of old and new, east and west and strangely worked extremely well. Hats off to the costume designer for this movie.
Delcar: The characters have clearly modern clothing elements mixed with 19th century inspired clothes and mashed up traditional Japanese patterns giving a very cool Six-gun Punk look to the piece.
The best part of the movie was that my husband and I were both geeking out over different aspects of the movie. Me with all the HEY! I know that actor, and that one. OH MY G**, that’s Oguri Shun!
To my husband noting all the Spaghetti western references and every movie shout out there was.
I was going on about the history of the Heike and Genji (I need to get him to watch Taira no Kiyomori).
–and then the Anime Otaku line was dropped, and I lost it.
This is NOT dubbed, but it is in English, the actors learned their lines phonetically and some people not versed in Asian cinema pan it for that aspect, but I commend these actors for putting in the effort. For me, this was 1000 times better than a dub. Each actor had their own voice (or voices as the character called for).
This really was a blend of our two fan worlds, and I recommend it if you like silly movies that aren’t stupid paying homage to the beloved source material.
Delcar It’s an over-the-top pile on the tropes colourful, silly mess. It is, however, NOT so bad that it’s good. It’s GOOD. Just crazy. Minus the not-quite fourth wall breaking lines from Quentin Tarantino (the worst actor in the piece. Stay behind the camera, Q.)
I really appreciated the synergy they had going with the look and flow of the film; it feels like coming full circle from Kurasawa getting inspired by American Westerns, then getting ripped off by them.
I doubt I caught all the references, but the classic tropes are all present, and it definitely falls on the homage side of things. Django’s coffin. The Nameless gunslinger. Throwing yourself off the roof when you’re shot. Bar fights and standoffs. They did skip getting drug away by your horse when shot, but they did drag the sheriff by a rope, so they get a pass. The weapons are mostly consistent, and actually have to be reloaded, rather than endless bullets.
OAL rocks on about the Heike and Genji elements, and now I’m committed to the drama.
Tee hee I win.
Have we grabbed your interest? Have you seen it?