"I grew up on "Kung Fu Theater". I happened to see this title at the video store and figured it was time for a good cheesy movie...in that frame of mind, I wasn't dissapointed.
In the early 1700's, men and monsters lived in peace with each other and nature. It wasn't long before men lost their fear of mosters, and soon turned on them, determined to wipe the monsters from Japan. Though largely sucessfull, small bands of monsters survived, hiding out deep within the mountains. Enter Kibakichi, a ronin from a slaughtered band of werewolves. Kibakichi happens upon one of the last surviving towns populated by monsters. The head of the clan has a dream that once more, men and monsters can live together, though the town feeds off of gamblers who come to the local casino. Though Kibakichi warns them against this corse of action (Kibakichi once trusted humans, but his trust lead to the massicre of his clan of werewolves, who, interestingly enough, are a clan of Japanese dressed up like Native Americans!), the clan leader persists, putting his trust in a band of humans (what's the clue that the humans will betray the monsters? How about the fact that the humans are all dressed in "Hellraiser" / cenobite style outfits, and their leader wears a Ku Klux Klan style hood!) The humans decide to betray the gullible monsters (gee, we didn't see this coming!), and with Gatling Guns bought from England (and dispite it being the 1700's, a batch of billet aluminum cased hand grenades, as well as WWII German "Patato Masher" Grenades), the humans begin to decimate the township of monsters. This pisses off Kibakitchi so much, he turns into a werewolf, and there begins a classic monster bash, streight out of "The Guiver"!
If you are into a top notch action thriller with great makeup, special effects, acting and care about a good story line, this movie definately isn't for you. If you love badly dubbed, '60's Shaw Brothers titles, cheesy makeup, badly choreographed sword fights, limbs and heads being cut off and torn off, showers of blood sprayed from hoses through obvious prosthetic makup limbs and bad wire-fights, you'll love it! The first half is like a third rate copy of a Zatchitoi (Blind Swordsman) movie, the ending is pure campy Japanese monster movie.
Too bad "Mystery Science Theater" isn't still on the air...this would have been a feature on that show in no time. If you love campy, cheesy movies, this is worth watching once (any more than that, you'll surely go into a coma!)"
J. Irps | sparta | 07/21/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"i was not impressed by this movie. it started off so well too. a nice action scene where the kibakichi took care of many foes all at once cutting off one mans hand in the process. i started thinking of this as live action anime. only problem was it took so long to progress from this point. i hope i wasn't expecting too much but the story was just boring. half of the movie was just gambling and not even interesting gambling. sorry, but i just didn't like this movie.
if only this movie had a large enough budget to support the supposed special effects then this movie might have had a chance. i would rather resort to some anime then watch this again."
vanhubris | Verona Beach, NY | 07/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has some good things going for it--but all in all-it's not a very coherent storyline--and tends to get a bit boring at times. The Werewolf-in particular--is a rather poor depiction by modern cinema standards--though passable. The fight scenes are okay--though for my taste--there was too much gun power. A fair amount of gore--a human head being eaten, a plate of noodles and eyes, a few body parts hacked off--though these represent a very minor part of the story--the plot is basically that the Yokai have tried to live apart from humans for their own preservation--but a group of humans with the typical "Boss" found in these type movies--wants to use them for target practice with his new gatlin gun. The storys ok--but lacks the humor of Zatoichi or Hanzo and actually pales beside a movie aimed more at children/teens-"Yokai Monsters along with Ghosts" Still, if you like Samurai/sword movies--it's worth a watch--I was a little disappointed but I still enjoyed the movie. Sub-titles and a dubbed English version are available on this disc as well as the original language!"
Worth a look.
Shaun | Minneapolis, MN USA | 05/12/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In an attempt to diversify it's portfolio, MTI Studios (Japan) along with it's newly born Saiko Films, threw together an inspired and ambitous little movie called Kibakichi, admittedly to gain some Asian Horror cred and cash in in the current success of the genre. This is the new label's first film. The studio's summary also appears on the Region 1 dvd. What it leaves out is that Kibakachi is standard B-Movie fair. I had higher hopes for it.
The film opens with a deep, ominous voice; "A long time ago humans and monsters called Yokai, and nature lived in harmony without getting in the way of each other. But soon, men began to destroy the Yokai. Some fled to the mountains and some turned themselves into men, women, and the elderly to hide from the human world."
Now, there are obviously clear parallels in Kibakichi's story between world history's conflicting countries or populations within countries in man's quest for advancement or simply the ability to conquer and rule. Whether it's rooted, in the film's case (?), in feudal Japan's emergence into a more technologically advanced world (which I don't know a lot about, regrettably), or the Europeans going to America and taking land from the Indians, or even more contemporary instances, there's definitely a moral backdrop in Kibakichi. But such situations have taken place for thousands and thousands of years and in the end, it's the way the world has worked for just as long. So I tried to set that on the back burner while taking in the spectacle of Kibakichi.
The "spaghetti western" aspect of the movie is evident from the start. Kibakichi is strolling through a dry, grassy plain, while a group of bandits try to get the jump on him for some reason. The camera ping-pongs back and forth between sides and then, as if an homage to Sergio Leone, freezes on the blazing afternoon sun. Needless to say, Kibakichi will continue on his way that day. And similar to Clint Eastwood in his famous trilogy, Kibakichi, with reason, (as we find out later in the movie), will agree to extend his services to help pacify the village's turmoils. But unlike The Man with No Name Trilogy, Eastwood didn't encounter talking frog or turtle monsters on a narrow bridge leading into the tiny town. I'll have to check on that though. Kibakichi takes some sake at a pub and is quickly "recruited" to gamble at the local casino (for lack of a better term) and just like that, the meat of the story kicks into high gear. He sits at a long, low table to wager on a dice game that's based on an "even or odds" outcome. Many other patrons are also gambling , as well as enjoying the company of one of the many giggling geisha girls. It's not long before Kibakichi is raking in the cash and then suddenly pulled away from the table and asked by the village leader Onizo for his help as different factions of the region maneuver for respect and land rights. While other are more interested in recognition and power.
All in all, Kibakichi is a gutty effort from first time director and studio alike. It's well-rounded in it's mix of samurai fighting and monster mashing; along with a decent story. Even with it's flaws and the unexpected appearance of some modern weaponry, fan's of the genre shouldn't be left hanging. There's a little for everyone here. It's not exactly horror, as the studio claims (horror/action/fantasy). But I guess that depends on what you consider to be horror. I'd say it's closer to "slasher" if I were being pressed. And despite the often cheesy dialogue (ex. "Life is like a spot on a dice, we won't know until we shake it.") and freshman effort on the part of the director, which may have been a budget issue, Kibakichi wraps up nicely with some (literally) high flying action and ties up the story nicely as well. I don't think it's necessary to go into specifics here, especially with character names and individual motives because Kibakichi does jump around a bit and a couple very small plot holes left me wondering a little, but didn't distract me from enjoying it, somewhat. Kibakichi, I believe, is a love it or hate it type movie. Personally, I think it had an identity crisis. But I'll begrudgingly recommend it for it's uniqueness. "
Ready for MST3K
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 05/01/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I love Japanese yokai movies like The Great Yokai War and Kitaro, so I was looking forward to "Kibakichi" (Japanese title "Kibakichi: Bakko-yokaiden"). I didn't have any high expectations judging from the box cover, but I figured it would be worth a watch.
I was wrong. This is just a terrible film. Cheap production values. Bad story. Wooden acting. Silly costumes and props. Very little here to recommend it, unless you want to watch it as a joke.
Director Haraguchi Tomoo had a good concept with "Kibakichi." This was supposed to be the style of the old Spaghetti Westerns adapted for a samurai flick. The concept has worked before, and both Westerns and chanbara have freely borrowed from each other. The idea was to have the shogun's men be the invading industrialists (railroad barons) encroaching on the land of a poor settlement of yokai (Native Americans). The shogun's men promise the yokai a beautiful land of their own, if they will just help in clearing undesirables and criminals from the area. Into this mix comes a half-breed drifter, Kibakichi, who is a deadly warrior whose allegiances are unclear. Will he side with the humans or with the yokai?
Sounds great, right? And it really should have worked. Maybe in the hands of a more competent crew it would have. But the choices Haraguchi makes are just too silly. The shogun's men all wear long, Matrix-style black leather coats for some reason, and carry bizarre semi-steam punk Gatling-pistols that don't actually rotate when they fire. The yokai "tribe" look equally bad in their faux-Native American make-up. And as for Kibakichi , well this is the stupidest hero I have ever seen. When the eventual battle breaks out, he waits until AFTER everyone is dead (except for the pretty girl of course!) to transform into his powerful werewolf form and take on the Matrix-dudes. A little too late there, Kibakichi. Maybe you should have joined in the fight earlier rather that standing around making angsty faces.
Are there any good points? Well, I am a big fan of the yokai called kappa, and there are some cool kappa costumes here. Unfortunately, they seem to have spent the entire budget making them, and they don't get much use in the film. All the other yokai are just regular people, with maybe a single weird feature or two. Lame. The blood and violence is pretty fun, with the old-fashioned "hose up the arm" ensuring an absolute gusher of blood for every arm chopped off.
This DVD comes with a bonus feature of the director and two lead actors giving a chat during the premier of "Kibakichi." After watching the movie, it is funny to see them talk so seriously about what they had just made. Did they really think they made a fine film? Obviously they did well enough to merit a sequel, Kibakichi 2. But I think I will give that one a miss."