Sukiyaki Western Django. Let’s see if you can say that three times fast? It’s a mouthful to say the least. First Look Pictures presents in association with Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, Geneon Ent and Sedic International this cult like Japanese western film.
Directed by Takashi Miike (Ichi The Killer, Audition, City of Lost Souls) the film runs approximately 98 minutes. The film stars Kaori Momoi, Koichi Sato, Takaaki Ishibashi, Teruyuki Kagawa, and most notably (for us native English speakers) Quentin Tarantino. (Kill Bill, Death Proof, Pulp Fiction) Although a minute role.
The film is broadcasted with an English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround and Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Presented as 2.35 Anamorphic Widescreen 1080p.
A popular Japanese dish made with beef and usually containing soy sauce, bean curd, and greens, cooked in a single pot at the table. Simple ingredients cooked together without added broths to create a unique essence that is truly Japanese.
A cult film considered by many as one of the best examples of the spaghetti western, with a stirring musical score, gunfights, and a quiet anti-hero who famously drags a coffin.
The acclaimed Takashi miike co-wrote and directed this postmodern remake of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Spaghetti Western, “Django”. Although the story is alot of the same its the style and essence of the scenes that make this a beauty (at times, I’ll get to this later) and the emotions that give its japanese gangsterism on the western forefront a cult movie.
The Genji and Heiki clans who had been feuding for centuries both arrive in a 19th century Nevada town, both ambitious to find hidden treasure that had been rumored to be there. In the midst of their fighting comes a western like Japanese gunslinger (Hideaki Ito) courted by each clan to work for them. When he refuses, betrayal and murder escalate, hidden truth exposes one tragedy, and the identity of a mystery shooter is known. The film’s energy, great camera work and some sweet kung fu action are enjoyable and Miike has a great abilityof plotting the story sequences. So where and how does Tarantino fit into all this? Well not much to be honest, he has a small role that helps link events together quite nicely though.
Overall I thought the movie was visually stunning and I liked alot of the fight scenes, but for the most part it just wasnt my cup of tea. Perhaps if it had more Kung Fu, but that wasn’t the main premise of this movie having to blend in different styles be it a Spaghetti Western and all. I could definitely see how this is a cult fan favorite and with that in mind Igave it a reasonable three BDs.
Aside from a few scenes that appear to be horribly oversaturated the video quality is very good. It is however really hard to get over some of the oversaturated scenes as it will make you wonder is this total crap that you are watching or did Takashi (The Director) do this on purpose? I did some research and it doesnt seem like this was done on purpose. (Like the gritty grain of “300”) Thankfully, the scenes dont take up entirely too much time of the viewing so its not too long till your back to looking at some of the most beautiful scenes (for fights) that appear on Blu-ray. 1080p goodness coupled with the creative genious that Takashi Miike is on displaying extremely colorful scenic views of the plot make for a great picture on blu-ray. However, that nastyness of oversaturation that I saw on 2 different HDTVs made me really wonder. Later, it seems that First Look Pictures may have just not given this film all the attention it deserved. Details in “Bottom Line”. Also, I would have easily given the video quality a 4 BD rating if it had as much quality as the Japanese release.
The Audio quality is absolutely fantastic compared to its DVD counterpart and exceptionally good to blu-ray standards. The Dolby TrueHD track really brings out the gun fire and each of your speakers in a 5.1 setup will be competing to keep up with each other as this one can make for an intense thrill ride, especially when a gatlin gun of sorts is pulled out and let loose! Each scenic view/scene was accompanied well with its audio soundtrack. Whether it was when the snow poured down, the silence of the desert, or the strong winds that engulfed around you the audio technicians really did this one justice!
The Blu-ray comes as a 2 Disc “Special Edition”. In all honesty, their is nothing really special about it as the 2nd disc is merely the digital copy. Ofcourse, however that is a nice plush bonus for those who have capable portable devices that like to watch on-the-go movies. Disc one however contains …
-Making of Featurette
The disc is very lackluster in the Special Features department unless you find what’s available on BD-Live promising. The supplements for the disc in its entirety can be either totally lame or very enjoyable. The previews are only that of other First Look Pictures movies so they obviously reek of suckage. (Not necessarily those movies, but trailers can be had on youtube for free.)
The deleted scenes are not very user friendly as they are all just bunched together and not in Hi-def which brings me to the best part of the Extras … The Featurette of the making of “Sukiyaki Western Django” it too is not in HD (480p) but is very interesting and is a very nice watch and it actually gets you into the movie again. It was in all subtitles as they spoke Japanese but a very cool watch none the less. If it werent for this cool featurette I would have only ranked this a half disc, and only half because it had something as opposed to nothing although it would of felt that way. Kudos for the featurette for bringing up this score.
If you want to add another cheap Blu to your collection and you’re easily entertained by fighting of all kinds with a Spaghetti western story then this Blu is for you. However, if your a fan of this movie and are really wanting Sukiyaki Western Django in its greatest form … that of Blu-ray, then this version of the film IS NOT for you. In my humble opinion First Look Pictures did this film a disservice by cutting 23 minutes from the original theatrical release and making the story a bit choppy. The original has a more constant fluid flow about it as the story unfolds. So in conclusion, fans of this film should avoid buying this version and import the original run-time Blu-ray version. (Like the japanese) It can be had from online etailers such as yesasia.com or amazon.co.jp