7.5 Dead or Alive (1999)
7.4 Gozu (2003)
7.2 Ichi the Killer (2001)
7.0 Visitor Q (2001)
7.0 Shinjuku Triad Society (1995)
7.0 Blues Harp (1998)
6.9 The City Of Lost Souls (2000)
6.9 Agitator (2001)
7.3 The Bird People in China (1998)
6.8 Young Thugs (1997)
6.6 The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)
6.6 Fudoh (1996)
6.5 Izo (2004)
6.5 Crows Zero (2007)
6.5 Audition (1999)
6.5 Rainy Dog (1997)
6.0 13 Assassins (2010)
Takashi Miike (Japan, 1960) is a director who specializes in extremely gruesome
He debuted with a series of videos like
Shinjuku Autoroo/ Shinjuku Outlaw (1994).
Shinjuku kuroshakai - Chaina Mafia Senso/ Shinjuku Triad Society (1995) is a brutal action/gangster movie, but rather overlong and trivial. Several scenes are shot from an higher angle as if they were caught on surveillance camera hanging from the ceiling. Mostly, however, this is a straightforward gangster/noir film that simply goes on a bit too long.
Full Metal Yakuza (1997) mixes the gangster genre and the sci-fi genre.
Young Thugs (1997)
Blues Harp (1998) is a "domestic" and "noir" yakuza that has two protagonists: one is the traditional ambitious and ruthless yakuza, but the other is a humble musician and bartender. When the bartender saves the life of the yakuza, he actually signs his own death sentence because he arouses the deadly jealousy of the yakuza's psychotic and homosexual bodyguard. In a sense the bartender gets punished by fate for having helped a yakuza, otherwise he would have enjoyed success and a loving wife.
A rock band is performing in a nightclub while gangsters are chasing a man down an alley. The man hides in outside the nightclub. A mulatto bartender of the nightclub, who is the grown-up Chuji, defends a woman from a much bigger foreign and then throws the man in the street and sits outside to smoke a cigarette. Then he notices the bleeding man hiding by the stairs. Before they can talk, the gang runs by and asks Chuji if he has seen anyone. Chuji lies and so saves the life of the hiding man, a yakuza named Kenji. The girl defended by Chuji turns out to be a nurse and takes care of the wounded man, but then admits that she works for a veterinarian. Afterwards Chuji and Kenji chat while the girl, Tokiko, listens. Chuji's father was a US soldier who left his mom and possibly died in Vietnam. His mother was a prostitute who, when he was ten, left him in an orphanage. Kenji wakes up in the middle of the night and admires Chuji's naked body. In the morning a fellow yakuza comes to tell Kenji that their boss, the leader of the Hanamura gang, has straightened out things with the rival Okada gang. One day walking in the street Chuji recognizes a black foreigner as his father from the only picture of him: Chuji casually hands him the picture, tells him that he's his son and walks away, indifferent. Kenji gets beaten up by his fellow gangster Aoyama by order of their boss for causing trouble. When he is not working as a bartender at the nightclub, Chuji deals drugs for the Okada gang. Aoyama gets stabbed to death by two men, presumably friends of Kenji's. Chuji meets again Tokiko in a record store, they go on a date and sleep together. Meanwhile, Kenji is having an affair with Reiko, the wife of his boss Hanamura, and they are plotting to get rid of her husband and have Kenji named his successor thanks to a forged will. One night at the club Chuji is invited on stage by the rock musician and demonstrates his skills as a blues harmonica player. When they leave the club, the rock musician sees his mother in tears: his father had a stroke, is left paralyzed, and the following day the rock musician tells Chuji that he will take over his father's dofu store. Chuji takes over the rock band. Kenji gives money to Chuji to thank him for his and Tokiko's help. Kenji tells Chuji that his ambition is to make it to the top of the organization. Kenji asks Chuji if Chuji likes him and it sounds like he's talking about physical, homosexual "liking". Kenji is always escorted by his "brother" Kaneko who seems to be homosexual. Kenji and Kaneko meet with Kojima, the vice-boss of the Okada gang. Kenji has a plan: Kojima's men will kill Hanamura, Kenji will blame it on Okada, then kill Okada in revenge. The forged will make it the new leader of the Hanamura gang, while Kojima will become the leader of the Okada gang. In return, Kenji only wants Kojima to pledge alliance between the two gangs. Meanwhile, Chuji is very successful as a musician, always supported by an ecstatic Tokiko, and a talent scout from a record label offers him a chance to make a record. The same day Tokiko finds out that she is pregnant and Chuji is excited. Everything seems to be going well but Kaneko, jealous that Kenji seems to like Chuji, makes sure that Chuji is selected for the killing of Hanamura. Chuji accepts to do a favor to Kojima, without knowing what he has to do, because Kojima threatens to ruin his career if he refuses. What they don't tell Chuji is that a sniper will kill the killer. The killing is set for the same day when Chuji has to perform for the scout's boss. Reiko exchanges the will in Hanamura's safe. She has sex with Kenji and then we see that she has blood dripping down her legs. When the day comes, Tokiko is puzzled that Chuji is not excited about meeting the record executive, but Chuji is worried because he has to meet Kojima. When they meet, Chuji finds out that he has to kill Hanamura. Chuji initially refuses but Kojima threatens to hurt his wife. Hanamura is on his way to a hotel to meet his lover, and Chuji is on his way towards the same hotel. Suddenly, Kaneko starts crying, ashamed of what he has done to Chuji. Kenji guesses that Kaneko has done something wrong and makes him confess. Hearing that Chuji is about to get killed, Kenji jumps in the car and drives towards the hotel. Chuji waits in front of the elevator for Hanamura. When the elevator door opens, Chuji shoots but it is Kenji. Chuji shoots but luckily he misses. However, Hanamura has found out about Kenji's betrayal and is waiting for him. Hanamura's men are about to kill Kenji and Chuji when Kenji manages to kill Hanamura. Kenji and Chuji manage to escape in a car, but Kenji is fatally wounded. The dying Kenji tells Chuji to drive faster so he can make it in time for the important performance at the club. Chuji starts performing while Kenji lies wounded in the back, by the same stairs where he met Chuji the first time. Hanamura's gang arrives and they finish Kenji. Then the screen goes black but we guess that they are going to kill Chuji too. The film ends with a pregnant Tokiko playing the harmonica and a flashback of Chuji as a child with his father.
By comparison, Rainy Dog (1997) is a melodrama, although it is still centered on a yakuza gangster. And Ley Lines (1999) is a picaresque adventure with comic overtones. This concludes the Black Triad Trilogy.
Andromedia (1998) in which a schoolgirl resurrects as a computer program
Chugoku no Chojin/ The Bird People in China (1998), one of his most subtle films (even elegiac), is an adventure story, halfway between farcical comedy and philosophical meditation, about a remote village where a girl keeps alive the legend that humans can learn to fly. The natives don't believe the silly old superstition but the city gangster does, or at least likes the idea of living in a society where people believe in legends. The protagonist shifts: initially it's the businessman in search of precious stones, then it becomes the gangster who wants to protect the idyllic lifestyle of a primitive village. And towering over them is the old Englishmen who turned an old superstition into a powerful living symbol of freedom and dignity, and chose to live there his whole life. We catch glimpses of Vincente Minnelli's Brigadoon and Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind and many other films in which a modern man falls in love with a remote primitive village, and the story recycles themes from novels such as Joseph Conrad's "Heart Of Darkness" and Saul Bellow's "Henderson the Rain King" updated to the age of the environmental movement.
Wada's narrating voice tells us that they stayed a little longer in the village, but eventually he returned to Japan, unable to live in that primitive village, whereas Ujiie settled there and became an official in charge of monitoring development. We see documentary images of urban life in Tokyo where Wada lives with his wife and child. And we see an old Ujiie still trying to fly... and the sky is full of flying people.
Audition (1999), one of his silliest horror movies, is a poor adaptation of Ryu Murakami's novel "Audition" (1997), but a great parody of the genre.
Deddo oa Araibu/ Dead or Alive (1999), another Yakuza film, opens with one of the most breathtaking scenes in the history of cinema, like Pulp Fiction (1994) on speed, boasts one of the most gruesome murders ever, and ends with one of the most incredible duels ever. The first 25 minutes are a wild epic Sergej Eisenstein-ian montage, but not for epic commemoration of collective glory: it is a fresco of depravity and murder. However, the movie also contains some grave melodrama, notably the scenes at the dilapidated and quasi-submerged cemetery for poor immigrants and the daughter who is terminally ill and will die in a terrorist attack just when she was about to be cured. Both families (the immigrant family of the gangster and the bland middle-class family of the cop) are protagonists, reflecting two kinds of tragedy that coexist in virtually every society. The duel that ends the movie is grotesquely implausible but maybe a touch of self-parody that was the only way that the director could outdo himself after such a series of extreme scenes.
The camera shows downtown Tokyo from the sky. Detective Jojima has assembled his men and is about to leave the police station but he is called to see the chief, who apparently spends all the time on the roof of the building. A man on a skateboard skates to a car inside the parking structure of the airport and tells the man inside that he wants to see their mother. They drive to a semi-submerged cemetery by the sea where he prays to his mother's grave. On his mother's grave Toji thanks his older brother Ryuichi (an ethnic Chinese with an Elvis Presley hearcut) for helping him study in the USA. Friends show up to celebrate his return and they goof around for a while amid the sinking tombstones. A schoolgirl leaves the house and her father, detective Jojima, and her mother discuss how to raise the money for the surgery that she needs. She reproaches him for sleeping on the couch. Jojima leaves the house and meets men who are exciting a dog so that it can sodomize a girl while a photographer takes picture of the act (presumably for a pornographic movie). Jojima wants information from the photographer, who is presumably an informer. Jojima visits a mobster who is meeting with a Chinese ally after their fellow mobster Chang Feng has been murdered, the murder that Jojima is investigating. The mobster tells Jojima that his gang is the victim of the recent spat of murders. We understand that Ryuichi's small new gang is taking on the big established gang: Ryuichi is the man who killed Chang Feng and his friends killed lots of gangsters at the restaurant. All of this happens in the first 25 minutes of the film.
A bum is eating and drinking on the sidewalk when a security van stops by a bank. The security agents pick up suitcases from the bank and take them into the van, chained to them. Ryuichi and two of his buddies are walking down the street towards them. Suddenly the bum gets up and attacks the security agents and Ryuichi's men coldly cuts the chain and take the suitcases. Ryuichi shoots a cop who happens to be passing by. A sexy girl wearing a miniskirt (presumably the stripper) opens the doors of another van. That's when the gangsters realize that the disabled Hitoshi is missing. He has taken part of the loot and is entering the subway. Hitoshi is a Chinese who lives with his mother in Japan. He stole the money to pay for them to return to China. One problem is that now his mother doesn't sound excited anymore about going back to China. The other problem is that Ryuichi easily finds him and kills him in front of the whole gang.
Jojima is still sleeping on the couch. His wife is worried about their financial situation and she gets a phone call that makes her cry. Jojima talks to the informer (the porn director) who tells him about a new drug route and gives him a contact name, Kaku. Jojima summons one of his cops, who has to show up with the 5-year-old child because his wife is away, and visits Kaku's restaurant. Kaku tells Jojina that a new guy named Ryu is causing trouble.
Meanwhile, Ryu's young brother rebels against his elder, disgusted by the killing of the disabled Hitoshi. Ryu reminds him that he studied abroad thanks to the money that Ryu made (illegally).
Ryu is talking to some drug dealers. To show his courage, he pulls the trigger on himself twice like in the Russian roulette. A man who works for the drug dealer tries it on himself and dies of the real bullet. At the end of her strip-tease show, Ryu tells his girlfriend (who is also an ethnic Chinese) that the deal with the Taiwanese drug dealer is done. She tells Ryu that she is sorry she lost his baby.
The porn director gets more information for Jojina: Ryu is a Chinese who came to Japan 20 years earlier and has been wreaking trouble ever since. Jojima interrogates some Chinese kids in Ryu's hometown and they tell him that Ryu was their idol. Jojima interrogates Ryu directly but he doesn't speak. On the contrary, Ryu gives him a lecture
Following Ryu's orders, his girl introduces herself, and offers herself, to the the yakuza boss. He senses a trap and kills her in the most horrible way: he drugs her after oral sex (apologizing that his penis is so small), forces her to get naked into a wading pool full of shit and then steps on her drowning her in the stinking sludge. The montage shows a few seconds of Jojima's daughter at the hospital (ignoring her mother who has been waiting for her) and a few seconds of the dead girl covered in shit dumped in an alley. Back home the mother tells Jojima that the daughter's condition has worsened and surgery is now urgent, but they don't have the money. Jojima tells her that he will find the money. Jojima and his team raid the gambling and prostitution rackets of the yakuza mobster. Then Jojima meets alone with this old man. The two have obviously known each other for a long time, and it appears that Jojima has tolerated the gambling and the prostitution, but now he demands a bribe: exactly the money he needs for his daughter's surgery, although only as a loan.
The scene shifts to a giant university hall with very few students in which a professor is lecturing about the crisis of Marxism, but the students are not paying attention at all. Ryu's brother is one of the students. Ryu came to pick him up. They meet alone after the lesson. The younger brother, the student Toji, has a different goal in life and wants nothing to do with crime. Ryu is ready to strike: his gang attacks the yakuza gang while it is hosting a big dinner for the Chinese ally. Jojima is dining with his wife and daughter when he is called on the phone by his partner who has infiltrated the gang. Ryu has killed almost all of the enemies but one, branding a sword like an ancient samurai, is about to kill him. Ryu is saving by his younger brother Toji, who surprisingly has decided to join in the massacre after all. One of Jojima's cops enters the scene and tries to arrest them all. Ryu's buddies laugh and shoot simultaneously at him, but, as he falls, the cop shoots one bullet that hits Ryuichi's brother. When Jojima arrives, he only finds dead bodies... and his friend the yakuza boss, the man who lent him the money for the surgery. Jojima pulls out his gun and shoots him in cold blood, thereby removing a dangerous witness of his corruption.
Ryuichi, surrounded by the only two surviving buddies, buries his brother Toji in the same flooded cemetery by the sea where their mother is buried. The death of Jojima's partner causes Jojima to swear death to Ryu. The death of Ryu's partner causes Ryu to swear death to Jojima, especially after Jojima busts the drug deal seizing all the Chinese drugs that were meant for Ryu. The daughter is finally going to the hospital for the surgery. Jojima's wife borrows his car to run some errands. The car explodes killing both women while he is watching from the balcony. Jojima resigns (delivers the letter to the chief who is playing the flute on the roof of the building).
Jojima finds Ryu and his buddies in a narrow unpaved road. The two cars face each other. They accelerate. Jojima does not swerve. Ryu's driver does at the last second, causing Ryu's car to crash. Jojima drives back towards them. One of them throws a grenade (and himself) at the car that explodes in the air. Jojima is still alive inside the car (year, right) and kills Ryu's last remaining buddy. Then Jojima yanks out his own left arm in a colossal spurt of blood and with the right arm shoots at Ryu who at the same time shoots at him. Neither dies. This scene turns more incredible every second. Jojima pulls out a bazooka, Ryuichi extracts his burning soul. They fire at each other. The collision of the rocket and burning sphere causes a nuclear explosion that destroys the entire country (viewed from space).
Psycho (2000) was a six-hour tv mini-series.
Hyoryu-gai/ The City Of Lost Souls (2000) is Miike's variation on Bonnie And Clyde, the romantic adventures of a Japanese-Brazilian gangster and his Chinese immigrant girl who are running away from both mafia and police.
Miike became even more prolific in the new century. Araburu Tamashii-tachi/ Agitator (2001) is a yakuza film, two and half hours long (three hours in the extended version). The film is certainly overlong but would be an interesting take on the genre (a slightly psychopatic but heroic gangster who fights the dirty politics of bosses who are not warriors anymore) if it weren't for an ending that seems improvised, hardly related to the rest of the film (and a little ridiculous: the killer has plenty of chances to kill but keeps postponing until he's the one who gets killed).
Kaito, the leader of one of the many gangs, meets in his limo with Mizushima and his henchman Muroi of the Shirane gang. Both Kaito and Mizushima are part of the Tenseikai clan. Kaito mentions that the leader of the Tenseikai clan is hospitalized and his 10,000 gang members ("soldiers") need a new leader, implying that he is vying for that position.
A Shirane gang led by a sociopath attacks prostitutes in a nightclub in Yokomizo's turf. Kunihiko's gang arrives and kicks them out, also killing the sociopath. Then Kunihiko's gang forces a 20-year-old kid, Hitoshi, to ingest a bottle of alcohol so they can tattoo his back while he is unconscious and draft him in the gang. The Yokomizo bosses summon Higuchi for killing a Shirane man by his gang, but Higuchi explains that his men had no choice. The Yokomizo bosses call Mizushima to arrange a peace meeting between the leaders of the two clans. The Yokomizo is led by an old man, who spends his spare time building on a miniature ship while his very sick wife agonizes in bed. Higuchi apologizes to Yokomizo, but the old man encourages him to fight on. That very night an assassin kills old Yokomizo. Mizushima reports to the Shirane boss that Yokomizo has been killed by someone seeking revenge for the killing of a Shirane member by Higuchi's gang. Shirane is worried that open war will erupt. Kunihiko and his buddies are out of control: they shoot two more Shirane gangsters. Mizushima suggests to ask Kaito for help to prevent an all-out war. Tsuchiya, the interim boss of the Yokomizo, convenes a meeting of the clan. They ask Higuchi to stop provocations while they negotiate with the Shirane clan. Tsuchiya meets with Kaito, Mizushima and Muroi but refuses a settlement until they offer him Shirane Kozo's head. Killing this big boss will also result in Mizushima becoming the new Shirane boss and legitimizing Tsuchiya as the boss of the Yokomizo. Kaito explains that he then expects Mizushima and Yokomizo to make peace and become part of the Tenseikai syndicate, and a helper explains that Kaito is most likely to become the head of that syndicate. They give Tsuchiya only one other option: death. Told by Tsuchiya of the plan to assassinate the Shirane boss, Higuchi again offers his men, i.e. Kunihiko. Mizushima sends Shirane Kozo to the ambush and informs Tsuchiya. Kunihiko's gang easily kills Shirane Kozo while he is dining with a sexy girl. A flashback shows the young Yoichi Higuchi when he decided to leave his small town to become a yakuza in the big city, and promised his little friend Kunihiko to make him one of his soldiers. When he reports back to Tsuchiya's henchman Torii, Kunihiko is told not to worry retaliation from the Shirane clan but is also asked to stay out of town. Higuchi is disgusted when he sees Mizushima of the Shirane gang and Tsuchiya of his own Yokomizo clan shake hands and make peace. Higuchi cuts all ties with the Yokomizo clan. Kunihiko hears of it and returns to town but is warned by Torii to be careful not to antagonize both Yokomizo and Shirane clans at the same time. Mizushima and Tsuchiya swear brotherhood at a solemn ceremony presided by Kaito. Kunihiko and his buddies are determined to sabotage the peace. First they attack the headquarters of the Yokomizo clan and then they kidnap Muroi. They hang him upside down from the ceiling and beat him savagely until he confesses that Mizushima betrayed Shirane Kozo. Kunihiko meets Tsuchiya and threatens to deliver Muroi's confession that he has on tape to the Shirane clan, after which both Mizushima's and Tsuchiya's lives would be worth nothing. The warmongering Kunihiko, who hates the peace, demands that Tsuchiya steps aside and appoints his boss Yoichi Higuchi as head of the Yokomizo clan. Kunihiko also adds that Higuchi is unaware of this plot. Mizushima orders the assassination of both Higuchi and Kunihiko. When he hears of the trouble, Higuchi sends his henchman Torii to yell at Kunihiko that it is foolish to fight a war against everybody and in any case he, Higuchi, is not interested in the job. Higuchi picks up Kunihiko and takes him to a sauna where they reminisce about their childhood. Kunihiko is still determined to fight. Higuchi advises Kunihiko to accept the fact that Kaito won and simply trade Muroi with Mizushima for some money. The exchange takes place (with Higuchi physically delivering a bloodied and scarred Muroi in a wheelchair) Tsuchiya delivers the money because Mizushima is scared of Higuchi's gang. As Higuchi is walking back towards Kunihiko, Tsuchiya's men start shooting: they kill Higuchi and wound Kunihiko. Kunihiko kills the killer but he lost his best friend and mentor. Tsuchiya wants the Higuchi gang back in his Yokomizo clan and appoints Torii new head of the gang, as Torii is willing to accept the deal. Kunihiko refuses to join but accepts to dissolve his gang, especially since his men hold him responsible for the death of Higuchi. In fact, Kunihiko apologizes to the widow when he goes to pay his respects to the dead friend, and leaves her his cut of the Muroi ransom. But then Kunihiko and his loyal soldier Otomo walk into the barber shop where Mizushima is being served and kill him and his bodyguards. Informed of the killing, Kaito (who just had to deal with his son's Yasuhiro unhappiness) appoints Muroi as new leader of the Shirane clan. Kunihiko then looks for Tsuchiya and finds him full of cocaine having licking the leg of a young girl. Instead of shooting him, Kunihiko beats him furiously to death while the girl watches indifferent. The surviving bosses of the Yokomizo clan listens to the tape of Muroi's confession and realize that the old Yokomizo was betrayed and they were all fooled. A soldier name Numata kidnaps Kunihiko's ex-soldier Sakuraba in order to blackmail Kunihiko. It turns out that Kunihiko had killed his son and now Numata was revenge. Kunihiko walks into the trap but his loyal soldiers Otomo and Yoshio show up, and they drag the frightened Hitoshi with them. Numata kills Yoshio, who was wasting time trying to console Hitoshi. Kunihiko and Otomo corner Numata but Numata points his gun at Sakuraba who is tied to a tree. Kunihiko then drops his gun, ready to die for Yoshio's freedom. Instead Numata still kills Sakuraba and then shoots Kunihiko but the loyal Otomo jumps in front of Kunihiko and blocks the bullets with his body. Kunihiko uses Otomo as a shield to shoot Numata dead. One night a delirious Kunihiko drives a truck packed with dynamite into the Kaito's compound, with the hapless Hitoshi on the passenger's seat.
Katakuri-ke no Kofuku/ The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001), a loose remake of Ji-woon Kim's The Quiet Family (1998), mixes animation, musical, farce and horror, with hints at the mitteleuropean operetta of the early 20th century and satirical takes on stereotypes of Broadway and Bollywood musicals. The plot would be relatively linear and harmless, if it weren't for sudden detours into grotesque surrealism, largely a consequence of that madcap chaos of genres. The overall tone is farcical: amateurs indulging in awkward ballets prevail over rare scenes of gruesome deaths.
A crow shits on a man's forehead. A little girl tells the story of her family while burying something in the soil. Her grandfather Masao lost his job as a shoe salesman and decided to use his savings to build a guesthouse in those idyllic mountains where a road was supposed to be built. Unfortunately, the road has never been completed and nobody visits that remote mountain region. Four generations of the same family (six people) live in the guesthouse that has never had a guest: Masao's elderly father, Masao's loving wife Terue, their son Masayuki, their daughter Shizue, and her daughter Yurie, the one who is narrating the events. Masayuki is fed up: he has lost faith that anyone will ever come to the guesthouse. His sister Shizue is divorced. The mysterious four women of the first scene pass by but are terrified by a lunar eclipse. During a violent storm that caused a blackout, a stranger comes to the guesthouse, their first guest ever. Unseen by them, the taciturn stranger performs a strange astral ritual in the room. When Masayuki brings him a beer, the stranger asks "what would you do if the world came to an end tomorrow"? The following morning they find out that the guest committed suicide (scene of the family surrounding the cadaver shot from the ceiling). This is the pretext for the first song and ballet. Masao decides to bury the cadaver and not report it to the police, because the news of the suicide could destroy any hope of ever having guests. They bury him by the lake nearby. Meanwhile, the mother and the little girl are out shopping. Shizue falls in love with a man dressed like a navy officer, Richard, who pretends to be a British officer and spy, and related to the royal family; obviously, a congenital liar. They engage in a tropical dance in which they declare each other's love. One of the mysterious women wearing sunglasses passes by. Masao has nightmares about the dead guest. Masao suspects that his son stole the wallet missing from the body of the guest. It turns out that his son is a former convict. Next, a celebrity shows up: a sumo wrestler accompanied by a little schoolgirl. Shizue does not have time to close the door of their room that the fat man jumps on the little girl and proceeds to have sex. The family doesn't seem shocked at all that the man is having sex with an elementary-school girl. The son spies on them from the window (and eventually falls off the ladder). The wrestler has a heart attack and dies, and his weight kills the girl beneath him. Masao, again, decides to keep the tragedy secret and to bury them outside. Masayuki is the only one who objects, tired of the whole business. Richard calls Shizue pretending to be flying over Iraq when in fact he is in a miserable apartment nearby. The family is surprised when four young people, ordinary people, show up for lunch. Masao learns that road construction is still halted but workers are digging around the lake. Richard, still dressed like an officer, is walking in that area and reaches the guesthouse on foot, dirty, sweaty, breathless. Shizue is so excited that she faints. He seems to have diarrhea and lies on the bed of the guestroom, where he finds the missing wallet. Downstairs the grand parents sing a romantic song, and do so karaoke-style, inviting the viewers of the film to sing along. Richard romances Shizue to pay for his fare to England, where he claims to be related to the queen. The old greatgrandfather is spying on them and, realizing that Richard is just a con man, attacks him with a log. They fight and Shizue accidentally causes them to roll down a ravine. The film switches back to animation to show how the two are hanging on a deadly drop, saved by a rope, and Richard is trying to cut the rope below his hands so that the old man will fall to his death. Shizue throws a stone to kill Richard before he can kill her granpa. Later Richard shows up at the guesthouse walking like a zombie. He grabs a phone and tries to call his many lovers to apologize. Shizhue still believes his royal crap until her granpa shows her that the uniform is a rental costume. They also find the missing wallet. Meanwhile, the construction workers find one of the buried bodies by the lake. In the middle of another storm they hear someone knocking at the door and someone playing a flute. A family of four is looking for a room. Now the Katakuris are terrified that these people will die too, and therefore the men start digging a grave even before having dead bodies. The family, out on a hike, finds them digging and asks what the hole is for. A stranger falls inside the hole and loses consciousness. The little girl follows her dog and finds the four decomposing corpses that have been dug up. The family joins her for a song to optimism with the dead guests providing the counterpoint. The earth shakes. They take the young man to the guesthouse, where the family of four has disappeared. Police cars are on their way. The young man wakes up, panics and flees, but then returns to the guesthouse when he meets the family armed with shovels (coming back from having buried the family of four?) The police arrive at the guesthouse. Song and ballet: Masao and his father argue who should take responsibility for everything. The stranger takes Shizue's mom hostage, afraid that the cops are there for him. They are: he has killed his wife in another guesthouse. Masao talks him into letting Terue free, and Masayuki saves his life when the stranger charges to stab him. The cops arrest the stranger. An explosion shakes the earth: a nearby volcano is erupting. The film switches to animation again: the lava rolls down the slopes of the volcano, throws everybody in the air, and aims for the guesthouse. However, the following morning they are all alive, and the guesthouse is still standing. Masao's father dies of a heart attack, but the surviving five are still full of enthusiasm.
Ichi the Killer (2001), another yakuza film, was an adaptation of Hideo Yamamoto 's manga (2001). Miike seems to focus on the three sadistic figures: the hypnotizer who sets in motion the entire massacre by manipulating the mind of a traumatized boy, the boy who has grown up to become a serial killer, and the masochistic gangster who specializes in cruel tortures. The one that lends his name to the title of the movie is actually the one who looks more caricatural, almost mocking superheroes (who are usually introverted kids turning into supernatural beings the moment they were their costume). The film boasts some great scenes but also an implausible plot with many cheesy detours and useless complications.
A flashback shows what happened at the beginning: the pimp beating the prostitute, Ichi wearing a black costume watching them from behind the drapes, Ichi having a flashback of his high-school friends raping a girl, the pimp attacking him, Ichi crying, and then suddenly Ichi splitting the pimp's head and his entire body in two with a karate move and a sharp tool, the disfigured girl, Sailor, terrified of him, who told her he wanted to take the pimp's place beating her, she attacking him and he killing her too (blood gushing out of her neck), and finally he crying alone.
The bandaged man (Suzuki) is one of the bosses. They decide to expel Kakihara, but he defiantly takes over the Anjo clan. The bandaged man calls Jijii and his associate and offers them money to kill Kakihara. Jijii visits Ichi, who is delirious about killing Sailor. He is obviously mentally unstable. Jijii reminds him of when he witnessed the rape in high school and he didn't do anything to save the victim, whose name was Tachibana. Ichi says that he wanted to rape her, not save her, that he felt that she wanted him to rape her. Jijii slaps him in the face and wakes him up.
Prostitutes watch motionless while Kakihara pulls flesh off the face of their pimp. The glamorous Karen walks in and gladly joins in the torture, having an orgasm while the flesh disintegrates.
One night, while biking home, Ichi sees three boys bullying another child, Takeshi, whose father has been fired from the police for losing his gun. Ichi, cowardly, pretends not to see but one of the children makes the mistake of kicking his bicycle and Ichi kicks back. Then, terrified, Ichi rides away in a hurry.
Karen is a sadistic bitch and the masochistic Kakihara needs violence, but he is willing to be her boyfriend only if she can really hurt him. She flogs him but he keeps asking for more, obviously used to much more brutality under Anjo. He is disappointed that she cannot hit harder.
Jijii phones Ichi and orders him to carry out a massacre, telling him that these gangsters look like the children who bullied him in school. He gets into his costume that has some sharp cutting tool. Then walks into the gang's apartment and slices them all to small pieces. He cries that he doesn't want to kill, and lies crying on the steps outside. Just then the child, Takeshi, walks down the stairs and finds Ichi crying. Takeshi tells him that he wants to become friend but Ichi runs away scared.
Kakihara escaped the massacre but, when he arrives to witness the carnage, is amazed. Ichi is still crying in the stairwell while undressing and a camera is watching him. It turns out that Takeshi is the son of Kaneko, who works for Kakihara since he was expelled rom the police. Takeshi practices karate on the roof of the building while his father is burning the bodies of the dead men. Kaneko has been commanded to find Ichi, even if nobody has ever seen his face. By coincidence, Kaneko is walking down an alley when he sees a bouncer beating Ichi because he didn't have money to pay for the girls. Kaneko too used to be alone and desperate, and he remembers when someone saved him from a similar situation in a similar alley. Kaneko saves Ichi from the beating and then buys him a meal at a restaurant. Ichi dosn't seem to understand anything that Takashi's father says to him. In a flashback we see that someone fed Kaneko when he was at his lowest point and Kakihara was eating at the table behind them, ready to lure him into the underworld. In another flashback Kaneko and Takashi are sitting at the restaurant and Takashi is reminding his dad that mom left for another man. Kaneko tells Ichi that he was once helped by a man who has recently been murdered (no less than Anjo himself) and that now he feels his duty to avenge the killing (not knowing that the killer is the man sitting in front of him).
Jijii gives Ichi six envelopes with pictures of the men who bullied him and of those who watched and didn't do anything. Ichi is tired of killing but Jijii wants him to become a man. Ichi doesn't want to kill anymore and runs away.
Kakihara calls for his friends, the twin brothers Jiro and Saburo, two sadistic detectives, and tells them that a Chinese pimp can take them to Ichi. The easiest way to find the Chinese is to find his beloved prostitute Myu-Myu.
Jijii is playing a board game with Karen and shows her pictures of Ichi. He explains that the introverted Ichi is mentally ill and his mind can be manipulated through hypnosis, of which Jijii is a master. Jijii made him believe that he used to be bullied in school and that woman who defended him, Tachibana, was raped in front of him. Ichi had actually killed his own parents.
Meanwhile, the gang has found Myu-Myu, a girl who has sex with Jijii's associate Long. The twins severe her nipples among other sophisticated tortures while Kaneko and another bodyguard mount guard outside. Left alone with her, Kaneko loses his mind and kicks the poor girl to death.
Karen came up with her own perverted plan. When she spots Ichi in the street, she hits him with her car and then pretends to be Tachibana, the woman who was raped for defending him. Initially he is ashamed because he still feels guilty that he didn't defend her. She then toys with his psychology, pretending that she actually wanted him to rape her, that she yearns for a sadist with no emotions who would slice her in little pieces She gets on her knees and performs oral sex on him. At the end he smiles: he now thinks that they all want him to do what they say they don't want him to do, so he doesn't feel guilty anymore. He grabs his sharp blade and she realizes that she now risks her life. She tries to escape but he cuts her to pieces, convinced that she is saying "no" because she means "yes".
Meanwhile, Kakihara and the twins have captured Long. Kakihara sets out to cut Long's penis while the twins giggle amused. One of the gangster spots Jijii spying on them, and, remembering that Jijii is the one who caused all the trouble by accusing Suzuki, chases him. Jijii turns out to be more than a hypnotist: he takes his clothes off and shows big muscles and easily kills the gangster. Kaneko finds his dead body. The twins are delighted to see that the cadaver is all broken up. Left alone with Long, one of the twins tries to yank his arm off and keeps pulling until he succeeds.
Ichi opens the six envelopes. He is ready to kill the last six gangsters: Karen, Long, the twins, Kakihara's bodyguard and Kakihara himself. But he gets one additional constraint: he has to respect the man who helped him, Kaneko, because he is his own long-lost brother. At the same time, Kaneko is dreaming of killing Ichi to prove his worth to the gang. Kakihara is excited to finally meet Ichi in person, whom he envisions as the worst sadist in the world. Ichi kills Saburo. Kakihara, Kaneko and Jiro find the dead bodies of Long, Jiro, and Myu-Myu in the room. Kaneko's son Takeshi is in the stairwell, and recognizes Ichi as the guy who used karate to help him against the bullies. Ichi and Kakihara duel on the roof until Kaneko appears. Ichi recognizes him as his elder brother and stops fighting. Instead, Ichi walks towards Kaneko to hug him. Kaneko shoots Ichi in the legs to stop him from advancing. Ichi instintively strikes back with a karate move and slits Kaneko's throat. Takeshi watches his dad die in a torrent of blood. Ichi, lying on the floor, cries and apologizes to Takeshi. Kakihara has watched the scene incredulous that Ichi is truly demented, and deeply disappointed they are not having their deadly duel. Kakihara lifts Ichi to his feet and demands a fight but Ichi keeps crying like a baby. Kakihara gets on his knees and moans that nobody is left to kill him. He deafens himself by inserting long needles into his own ears. Takeshi kicks Ichi and Ichi, again, can't help his automatic reflexes and kills the boy. Now Ichi is ready to jump at Kakihara like a ferocious beast. Ichi throws Kakihara down the stairwell and Kakihara is ecstatic while dying as if he were riding a rollercoaster.
Jijii arrives, checks Kakihara's dead body (that shows no wounds), and seems upset: Kakihara was not killed by Ichi but fell to his death, which means that the duel only happened in his mind and that Takeshi is still alive. Jijii then leaves without trying to find what happened to Ichi, which probably means that Ichi is dead, killed by Takeshi.
In the last scene, schoolchildren walk by in a park without noticing that Jijii is hanging from one of the branches of a big tree. A young man turns and stares at the camera. This is a fast-forward to the future, when a grown-up Takeshi has taken his revenge on Jijii and is ready to become the next Ichi.
The home video Visitor Q (2001), whose topic is reminiscent of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema, Sogo Ishii's Gyaku Funsha Kazoku/ Crazy Family (1984), Masayuki Suo's Hentai Kazoku - Aniki no Yomesan/ Abnormal Family (1983) and Francois Ozon's Sitcom (1998), is a fresco of adult decadence disguised as a documentary on teenage decadence. The difference between this film and its predecessors is that the man is a reporter obsessed with cinema verite and everything gets videotaped. And of course the whole story is more grotesque (grotesquely surreal) than it is horror or porno. Towards the end the film gets increasingly farcical. Antonioni, Bunuel and Pasolini all merged in one.
Gozu (2003), a straight-to-video production written by Sakichi Sato, abandons the horror genre for a metaphysical thriller with a straightforward linear plot. The film, however, has a surreal cast of characters and a psychoanalytical undercurrent, building up to a paroxystic finale. The story is relatively plain until the protagonist eats a "complimentary dessert" that sends him throwing up in the bathroom. From that point on all sort of unlikely events take place, his nightmares become more frequent, and his sexual repression becomes more vivid. The last scene, that fuses defloration, castration, and birthpangs is Miike's at his best (or at his worst, depending on taste).
Minami stops for a coffee at a restaurant run by a weird man. There are only two patrons in the restaurant. Minami gets sick eating the complimentary dessert and runs to the bathroom to throw up. When he comes back, Ozaki has disappeared. Either he was not dead or his body has been stolen. Minami calls the boss, who talks to him while having sex with a girl (having inserted a spoon in his own anus). The boss directs him to the Shiroyama gang. The address turns out to be wrong, but Minami gets a flat tire in front of a man whose face is half white, Nosechi, and this man takes him to the junkyard where Minami finds the "Shiroyama Crew" sign, which is really just a decrepit van with one person inside. This man promises to help him. Minami is escorted to an inn run by an old lady: "service" is the inn's motto, and she and her autistic brother go out of their way to please him. After he takes a bath, the old lady wants to wash his back and, despite his protestations, breaks into the bathroom scantily dressed, showing him her big breast and pressing it to show him that it squirts milk. While he is having dinner, milk starts dropping from the ceiling. he dreams of driving around with his brother who makes fun of his virginity. In the morning he is reluctant to drink a glass of milk that comes with breakfast. Nosechi got injured overnight but still shows up to help the search for Ozaki. The people at the restaurant recognize Nosechi, an old high school friend. Both the owner and the two patrons pretend that they don't remember Minami. Nosechi dumps him for them. Back at the motel the landlady confides to Minami that her autistic brother Kazu is a medium, and she offers to have him help Minami. She savagely whips her brother's naked back trying to evoke a spirit, but the man keeps swearing that he can't do that: we realize that she may have been abusing her brother ever since. Meanwhile, Nosechi is terrified: the restaurant is supposed to have died three years earlier in a car accident but now he is there serving coffee... Anyway, they saw a man who resembled Ozaki and directed him to a shop for glutinous rice. The owner of this business directs Minami to a sake export store whose owner is a woman from the USA. She sends him to the very inn run by the sister and brother. Minami finds the autistic brother carefully bottling his sister's milk, which seems to squirt endlessly from her breasts. She admits that someone came after Minami, and, not having any room available, she gave Ozaki the storage room, whose access is a hidden door. She adds that Ozaki left without paying the bill. Minami spends the night waiting in the hidden room in case Ozaki returns. Minami falls asleep and dreams of a cow-headed man who licks his face and hands him a book. When he wakes up, Minami finds a message from Ozaki written on a scroll, giving him an appointment at the junkyard. Minami gets in the car and drives to the junkyard. The two people who work there recognize his sketch (which is so generic that it could be anybody's) and confess that they accidentally pressed Ozaki when pressing a car. They show him the razor-thin remains, hanging from a coat hanger. Minami walks away devastated; but he finds a young sexy woman in the back seat of his car who says that she is Ozaki. Obviously he doesn't believe her, but, to prove her identify, she starts reciting the last words that Ozaki said to Minami in the car. She knows that he is still a virgin and even knows how he masturbated the first time. Only Ozaki knew these things. Minami stops to make a phone call to the boss, to tell him that Ozaki has been disposed of, and then the girl disappears, just like Ozaki did. But this time Minami sees what happened to her: she hitched a ride from a truck driver. Minami attacks the truck driver and takes back the slut. That night he explores her body while she is sleeping. She wakes up and offers herself to him, but nothing happens. When he reports back to the boss, he sounds as crazy as the Ozaki. She introduces herself to the boss as Sakiko, daughter of a gangster who was indebted to the boss. The sex-crazed boss, Azamawari, immediately proceeds to seduce her, and she doesn't seem to mind. The boss needs to stick a big spoon into his asshole in order to get an erection. Minami is jealous. Minami climbs the building just in time to interrupt the sexual act, although he remains stuck outside and needs help from the boss to avoid crashing to his death. They fight and the boss ends up impaling himself in the spoon, which offers Minami the opportunity to electrocute him with a lamp. The girl, still lying in bed, has been watching everything speechless. MInami and Sakiko drive away together. He asks her to wear the red-lace panties that Ozaki gave him. She offers herself again. He gets naked and she is impressed by her penis. She keeps referring to herself as his "brother" (i.e. as Ozaki). His penis enters her vagina but then gets stuck inside. Minami cannot disentangle himself. He crawls backwards on the floor dragging her body around. Finally with a superhuman effort he manages to pull his body away from her but his penis remains stuck inside her vagina. The bloody severed penis morphs into a hand. The hand retracts inside the vagina. A head starts emerging from the vagina: Ozaki's head. She is giving birth to the adult Ozaki. The last scene shows the trio walking happily in the streets of the city.
One Missed Call (2003) is an adaptation of Yasushi Akimoto's horrod novel "Chakushin Ari".
A supernatural samurai is the protagonist of the violent saga Izo (2004), about an immortal samurai, a prelude to the superhero of Zebraman (2004) and Zebraman 2 - Attack on Zebra City (2010).
YatterMan (2009) is the adaptation of a television cartoon.
Jusannin no Shikaku/ 13 Assassins (2010), a remake of Eiichi Kudo's Jusannin no Shikaku (1963), is a samurai movie that contains a 45-minute battle sequence.
Yasha Ga Ike/ Demon Pond (2005) is a traditional kabuki play, and Yokai Daisenso/ The Great Yokai War (2005) is a children's fantasy story.
46-Okunen no Koi/ Big Bang Love - Juvenile A (2006) and Kamisama no Pazuru/ God's Puzzle (2008), based on a novel by Shinji Kimoto, are detours into science fiction.
Crows Zero (2007)
Harakiri (2011) is a mediocre remake of Masaki Kobayashi's film (1962).
Aku no Kyoten/ Lesson of the Evil (2012) is an adaptation of Yusuke Kishi's horror novel.
Wara no tate/ Straw Shield (2013), the adaptation of a Kazuhiro Kiuchi novel, is a mediocre thriller.
Lesson of the Evil (2012) is another horror movie.
Kami-sama no Iu Tori/ As the Gods Will (2014) adapted the first installment of the manga series written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Akeji Fujimura.
Over Your Dead Body (2014) and Yakuza Apocalypse (2015) are also horror films.
Terra Formars (2016) is a sci-fi movie about giant cockroaches on Mars.