Wicked cool movie
J. Tanguay | Denver, CO | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie had me in stitches from the intro. If you buy this movie in the hopes of finding a no-holds-barred action flick you may be disappointed. However, if you are a fan of movies such as Snatch, or anything by Quentin Tarantino I think you will probably enjoy this movie immensely. Most of the humor is in the dialogue between characters, and for serious, if you can put yourself on the right level you won't even need the action to enjoy it. The action in this movie is not all that bad, and in my opinion, really helps the movie. There isn't a large amount, but that doesn't bring this movie down at all. The action there is is generally as entertaining as the dialogue, but the place where the movie really shines is the characters. The only one i'd have liked to been developed further is the main female lead; for the record, she is remarkably hot in the second half of the show.I would recommend viewing this movie at least once; I actually rented it because of the title, and I wasn't disappointed at all."
Matthew Austin | 12/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite Japanese, although the subtitles don't really do it justice. It really helps to have some knowledge of Japanese to enjoy this movie- alot of the fun comes from the idiosynchracies of the characters, much of which depends upon how they use language. The character Yamada being a prime example, it may be difficult to catch the humor without some idea of what he's saying. That said, it does not require fluency to enjoy the film, but a basic level of Japanese may help/"
A Tarantino Style Comedic Crime Thriller
C. Sawin | TX | 04/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Samehada is on the run from the Yakuza. He apparently stole 100 million yen from them and has no intention of giving it back willingly. While taking a brief time out to have his way with two women, they catch up with him. He winds up fleeing the scene wearing practically nothing. Meanwhile, there's Toshiko, who works at a hotel with a really creepy boss that has the hots for her. She decides to run away. She doesn't get far though as she sees a half naked man run past her on the road...only to crash into the two men who were chasing him. Toshiko decides to stick with Samehada since she "never wants to go back to that place." In comes Yamada, a gay hitman who's hired by Toshiko's boss to kill "her new man" and bring her back to him so he can have his way with her. Who will walk away with the money and who will be left standing by the time this is all over?
First of all, it is really hard to describe this movie in any way. There's so much going on and so many characters to keep track of that it's hard to decide just where to start. For a foreign film that's labeled as being incredibly violent, it's really not all that bad. There's some blood, but it's pretty tame compared to some of the other films I've seen lately. It has its moments where blood will be splattered on the wall, but you won't be seeing any decapitations or people's guts spilling onto the floor.
One of Shark Skin Man's strengths, that could also be viewed as one of its weaknesses, is its cast of characters. There are so many and each one seems to have his or her own personality and brings their own quirks and mannerisms to the table. There isn't one character that reminds you of another one in the film. They're all original and stand out on their own. Its weakness is that since there are so many characters that a lot of them get so little screen time. Samehada, Toshiko, her boss at the hotel(who is also apparently her uncle...ew), and Yamada all get plenty of screen time but some of the yakuza seem to kind of get on screen, do their thing, and then don't do much else the rest of the time. There are so many yakuza to keep track of and so few that you'll actually remember once the credits roll. Tanuki pretty much gets the most screen time out of all the yakuz. He's pretty much a bad @$$ with knives who likes to collect enamel poster ads. Mitsuru wears all white, is insane, has that awesome zippo he's always twirling around, and apparently has an amazing sense of smell and other tracking senses. Not a whole lot is revealed about Sawada. He says he keeps having visions where he talks to God and he used to be friends with Samehada. Inuzaka is a handicapped guy who's always carrying a bat. The beating he gives Samehada will be reverberating through your mind long after the film is over. The rest of them don't really do anything worth remembering or do something brief and wind up being killed off. Yamada is definitely the stand out character of the movie. He starts off being really annoying, but as he slowly reveals that he's more talented than he first lets on and winds up being a good portion of the movie's comedic relief...you wind up liking him the more he's on screen.
The film also has quite a good soundtrack that fits the film incredibly well. It reminds me of the Trigun soundtrack, which was really just rock music with a lot of awesome guitar work. The way it was shot is also kind of interesting. Depending on your taste in movies, it'll either make you love it or hate it. The movie is based on a manga with the same name, so I guess the director was going for a more comic style with directing and shooting the film. It really shows. I'm one of the people who love it and think it suits the film really well. It also has Tarantino elements in it as it jumps around in time a bit and the dialogue seems very Tarantino influenced at times.
Something I have to mention is that I think I'm convinced that any film Tadanobu Asano is involved with can do no wrong. He was amazing as Kakihara in Ichi the Killer and he fits the Samehada role incredibly well. He's officially made me a fan of his and I've gotten to the point where I'll see any film he's in.
So, all in all, Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl is a quirky crime/thriller/comedy that any Tarantino fan should give a chance. The film looks amazing as the colors are incredibly vivid and the scenery is just beautiful. The cast is what makes the film as each one brings something different to the film. It's really just an oddball kind of film you should see for yourself.
This movie fights for awesome.
Max Johnson | Chandler, AZ United States | 12/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are looking for a shoot em' up blood-opera, this isn't it. There's no fancy diving through the air shooting, or jumping over a semi with a motorbike action here.
What this movie DOES have is pretty much everything else you could want. This is the first action film I've seen where I got to know the henchmen as people. The plot is good. The characters are all solid. The wardrobe is great, and cinematography is intense.
Unlike Hollywood movies, this film does not spell everything out for the viewer. Even on my third viewing, I was making connections to things that I hadn't noticed the first two times.
My advice to you is this: See it, love it, make everyone else do the same."