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I never thought the human body can hold so much blood
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 11/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A Takashi Miike is always worth looking out for, and this one was highly anticipated. It's one of his earlier Yakuza movies, but still very Miike in approach that was highly recommend to me by another great reviewer by the name of Dave K. We open innocently enough with young Riki Fugoh playing catch with his beloved brother Ryu. The entire family, however, is yakuza. After Ryu retaliates for the actions of the rival Nioh gang, the boys' dad kills Ryu to save his own neck. Young Riki, is not amused.
Ten years later, Riki (Shosuke Tanihara) is the smartest, best-looking kid in his high school. He also runs the place with the aid of his own gang comprised of fellow students. With the aid of eight-year-old hit men and schoolgirl strippers and assassins, it looks like Riki could have his revenge on the anniversary of his brother's death, but dear old dad may not go down so easily.
Shock value and native Japanese weirdness aside, this is a great movie. It looks great. Whatever the content, each shot is carefully composed and the action is often so manic it can be had to keep up with. As unemotional as the Japanese can be, "Fudoh" turns into the nastiest family squabble since "Medea". The parenting skills of the eldest Fudoh make Christopher Walken in "At Close Range" look like father of the year. Also into the mix comes man mountain Akira, played by wrestler Kenji Takano who must be the biggest guy in Japan! Even allowing for simple tricks like standing him next to short people, putting him on a box and filming from the waist up (the sort of stuff they do with Robbie Coltrane in the Harry Potter movies) it's clear that this guy is huge! Still, the most notable aspect is that just when you think the film can't get any weirder, it's just getting started. Murders are often accompanied by rivers of blood. The scenes in the children's assassin training camp are hysterical. I lost count on the number of decapitations.
While this is a film about kids, it's definitely not for kids. Director Miike may be better known for his surreal yakuza films and his greater exercises in strangeness, but the only difference with "Fudoh" is really one of style. Miss this and the Yakuza will have your fingers! Don't say I didn't warn you... Miss this and the Yakuza will have your fingers! Don't say I didn't warn you... "
A Class-A B-Movie
J. Clements | London | 08/28/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Hitoshi Tanimura comic on which this film is based must have passed me by, but it shares a publisher with Legend of the Overfiend and is a similarly exploitative sex-and-violence tale set in a Japanese school. But this time the invaders are Japanese gangsters, our messiah is the son of the local boss, and the demons are all too human.The original Japanese title implies that the whole story is a rewrite of Japan's civil war, but screenwriter Toshiyuki (Onibi: The Fire Within) Morioka paints a very modern drama of murder and mayhem. The eponymous Riki Fudo (played with startling presence by Shosuke Tanihara) is traumatised by the death of his elder brother, and swears revenge on his murderous father. Gathering his own cohorts about him, Fudo fights a war on two fronts, against both his sworn enemies in Kyushu and his own Dad. Bird People in China director Takashi Miike takes this raw stuff of straight-to-video bargain bins and turns it into a big-screen revenge tragedy worthy of John Woo. Father and son face each other over dinner, each framed by the flames of a Buddhist hell; a blood-red Moon shines on midnight meeting; there is the glint of sharp knives and the flash of even sharper suits. The influence of this 1996 film is already extensive - it opens with an explosive restroom shoot-out that makes Kite's (1998) seem like a pale imitation, and Shark-Skin Man & Peach-Hip Girl's (1998) seem all the funnier. Exceedingly violent, Fudo never ceases to amaze with its sick originality - highlights include assault with kimchi, a new meaning to the phrase `dropping acid' and a schoolgirl stripper with an eye-popping party trick. Boasting both the malicious inventiveness of Evil Dead and the honour-among-thieves of Goodfellas, this is one film which (trust me) can't fail to surprise you."
You won't believe your eyes...
J. Clements | 10/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I caught this movie at a film fest two years ago and was completely BLOWN AWAY. Our main character is a high school kid who happens to be a yakuza (mob) crime boss. He decides to make a power move against some old-school rivals with the help of two female classmate/assassins(one of which is a stripper with a FASCINATING weapon, a hulking behemoth, and two deadshot tykes). The action sequences are incredible! The film critic at TIME put this on his list of Top 10 movies of the year at the time of it's Japan release. I put it on my Top 10 of all time."
Miike Fires A Dart and It Hits The Target
Victor Schwartzman | Winnipeg, Canada | 12/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since being off on sick leave and discovering Amazon, I have also had the time to discover Takashi Miike. A Japanese director who was a bit of a thug in his youth, he fell into directing just because, well, it was there. Films which I have seen of his and reviewed include Audition (Hitchcock on steroids) and Bird People In China (a remarkable character study). The only film of Miike's I have not liked to date is 'Visitor Q', which just plain pushed my buttons--and the wrong ones. However, lately I have been feeling bad about that. I posted a positive review of Ichi The Killer, but it disappeared into cyberspace--but plenty of people have already reviewed that remarkable film.
Miike is a provocateur. For the most part, he makes direct to video films. The budget is low, the money is made back by DVD sales, and he can cut loose. Often cutting loose for Miike involves chopping off feet, but can include people being cut in half. Miike likes to be outrageous. I first came across him when, cruising Future Shop, I came across "Imprint." This was a one hour film commissioned by Showtime for its "Masters of Horror" cable tv series. However, it was too much even for that series, and was released independetly on DVD after Showtime refused to air it.
Fudoh is something else again, even for Miike's work. It is a revenge story, with some real similarities to Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven"--one act of violence leads to an endless cycle of more violence. The violence gets worse and worse.
Although I will be judicious in this review about plot points, and not give away too much, you should still beware:
SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS, STOP!!
The film begins with Fudoh as a child. His father and older brother are both gangsters. After what can only be described as a toilet massacre that makes Sam Peckinpah's films look like The Sound Of Music, Fudoh's father kills Fudoh's older brother to placate other gangsters upset by the massacre. To say Fudoh's dad gives the other gangsters a head's up on Fudoh's brother, or that he heads off their concerns...well, you can guess, eh?
Cut to Fudoh as a high school student. This is one rock and roll high school. Fudoh is running his own gang. Helping him are two young boys, perhaps eleven or so years old, who look like they can barely carry their machine guns. These boys don't, uh, kid around. They help Fudoh with his gang, and that includes assassinating the gangsters connected with Fudoh's brother's death.
My favourite Fudoh aide is a cheerleader type, a girl who shows a remarkable ability with darts. She does not use her hand to throw darts, nor does she use her mouth. But she does blow the darts out. Do I have to be explicit? Let's say her aim is remarkable, given she shots the darts while on her back.
The film is beautifully shot and paced, and contains, as one should expect from the above descriptions, a whole truckload of dark humour. I've seen Peckinpah, I've seen Scorsese's gangster movies, heck I've seen Friday the 13th. But I ain't never seen nothing quite like this!!
The film, while hilarious in parts, is equally dramatic. Miike makes it serious when he has to, yet there is no vibe clash when he switches tones. I'm not sure yet how he pulled it off, but he did.
As the revenge cycle gets worse, the violence increases and things get nastier and nastier. Unlike with Visitor Q, though, this is an entertainment that does not rub your nose in it (in fact, unlike Dead or Alive, which tended to also rub your nose in it). Also, unlike some Miike films, it does not feel rushed, with things thrown in for the heck of it. Everything works, right to the end. No scenes stick out like a sore thumb. Or, for that matter, like a dismembered thumb.
Stylish, clever, violent, sexy--did I mention the scene involving two women making out, only one of them is also a man?--this is a unique film that is well worth checking out. Except you'll never check it out of any video store except a speciality store, you'll have to buy this sucker. It ain't coming on cable any time soon!!"
Michelle | San Diego, CA USA | 12/09/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lately I've been getting into Asian-Cinema, and the king of it seems to be Takashi Miike. Releasing 63 films in the last 13 years, he's certainly a busy man, and he does his best to make some of the most bizarre movies out there, this being no expection.
The first problem with this DVD is the actual DVD. It has no DVD Menu, no Sound options (Japanese Stereo + English Subtitles), and no extra features. The movie does have 3 trailers for other films which play right before the movie (Much like a VHS Tape). The video on the DVD Is nothing special either.
The story follows young Riki (A model high school student), son of one of the biggest crime lords in japan, who murdered his other son (Riki's brother) -- Riki swears to avenge his brothers death, and recruits a group of bizarre people from his school (Including a man known as the japanese elvis!), to take out his father, and gain control of the Yakuza.
The movie sounds real interesting (And when you see some of these characters (For instance, the girl who shoots poisonous darts out of her privates)), it truly is bizarre.
Unfortunately the story doesnt unfold so well, and is a large letdown (I wanted to love this movie after hearing about it).
It does feature Miike's typical "over the top violence" at parts, but its not as good as his typical films unfortunately.
I'd recommend renting this one, but I'd hold off on purchasing this movie unless you can find it for under $10."