M. C. Griffin | Bakersfield, CA USA | 08/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's the deal. The movie is very plot heavy and happens in a high school scenario. It has more to do with the origin of Ichi's skills and propensity for violence, along with his sexual fascination with death. It isn't a gore fest, and is only suggested for those who enjoyed Ichi as a story and not an excercize in gratuitous violence. I enjoyed Ichi because of the plot first, and the gore second. If you're looking for a movie that is realistically violent, but you don't care about gore, go find Flower of Flesh and Blood. You'll love it. However, if you enjoy the characters and story of Ichi the Killer, and don't feel that you NEED all the gore, go ahead and give this a buy, it's superb."
Raw & brutal!!! Oh, and funny!
Shaun | Minneapolis, MN USA | 05/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Masato Tanno's 1-ICHI is the live action prequel to Takashi Miike's 'Ichi The Killer'. In it, we get to witness the teenage roots of Ichi's manic-depressive beginnings and the origins of his monster-sized kicks. Tanno serves up Ichi's psychological, as well as physical beatings.
It opens as Dai (played by Teah) is putting the hurt on three local thugs and notices a fellow student Shiroishi/Ichi (Nao Omori) watching him intently and smiling at him from a walking bridge in the distance. This immediately ticks Dai off, as Dai isn't one to take anything lightly or as chance. He's determined to be the baddest guy around, and he's doing a fine job at it. Dai and his friends head home afterwards to relax and eat. Dai is so focused and regimented that he only allows himself a certain amount of time to finish eating; he actually uses an egg-timer! Dai becomes obsessed and a little unnerved with Shiroishi, as he's always showing up to watch him fight (although we only see this a couple times) and believes that he's passively challenging his strength and dominance. Dai has had enough of Shiroishi's lurking and begins tracking him down. But not single-mindedly. He runs into Shiroishi as he's being pushed around by some thugs from another school and when Shiroishi refuses to defend himself, Dai actually jumps in the middle to ask him why he doesn't fight back. He doesn't lose his urge to crush Shiroishi, but becomes fascinated with him at the same time.
But before he can pull the proverbial trigger, a new student comes to school to complicate things. Onizame, a master of Hop Ki Do (a Korean discipline), brilliantly played by Koji Chihara, wastes no time in proclaiming himself king by first "winning over" Dai's friend's girlfriend by busting him up right there in the classroom upon arrival. which eventually leads to a phenomenally brutal ending to 1-ICHI, which is reminiscent of Ichi The Killer's famous final scenes. I'll spare a complete recap of anything further because you'll want to see it for yourself.
1-ICHI is a lightning fast 83 minutes but does a fine job in it's mission to explain Ichi's beginnings. Considering Tanno and his crew ran into time constraints immediately before shooting began (via the interview with Tanno and Miike on the DVD) the film is surprisingly fluid and cogent; what's there is there, and even though I wanted to, I couldn't argue with the character's motives or the extremely myopic and carefully constructed world. There is never an instant of 1-ICHI's world being fake or contrived, even when you begin to notice that there are never any authorities around or teachers present as the kids fight for lengthy periods of time; inside the classroom! I would hesitate to call it an incomplete or half-hearted effort as well. The world we see in the film is unique and self-sustaining, What's more, little things like Dai's friend Hide's penchant for watching only the third installment of a movie series, Exorcist 3, Godfather 3, Let's Ride The Pervert Train III, because, as Hide puts it, "the third one tends to be self-explanatory, so it's easier to follow.", gives the film a quirky, likable edge and weight.
1-ICHI is not for the faint of heart though. You'll see (and hear) some brutally realistic, bone-breaking fights and some borderline sadistic behavior. Some of the earlier fights are on he cheesy side which directly oppose the latter's carnage. What you will also witness is the makings of Ichi's sexual excitement for violence; from simple erections to moments of release. Very graphic stuff here folks. This isn't just violent, blood-soaked brutality and CGI amputations as in Miike's cult classic. It may be low-budget, but it has a ton of character and by the end I was convinced that it dovetails nicely with Miike's film while remaining Tanno's.
A huge disappointment.
E | 02/07/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"When I first learned of this movie, I was ecstatic to be able learn about Ichi's past and how he became Ichi the Killer. Unfortunately, this movie was a complete let down.
The quality of the film was very cheap and amateur, and its focus didn't really seem to be about Ichi at all. What seemed to be the main focus was another character's insecurities about his strengths and reputation of being a tough guy (the story was extremely weak). This movie barely touched on Ichi's development into a killer and I regret ever buying this and watching it.
If you are a fan of Ichi the Killer, I strongly suggest you stay away from Ichi-1. If you're not a fan of Ichi the Killer or don't even know what that is, you should avoid this movie too."