East meets West and wears a cowboy hat in bizarre Sukiyaki Western Django.
SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO (Takashi Miike). 95 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (September 19). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
Set up in a brief, bizarre introduction by Quentin Tarantino in cowpoke garb, Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django is the story of an introverted gunslinger (Hideaki Ito) who arrives in a remote village where two colour-coded gangs, the Genji Whites and the Heike Reds, are locked in an endless feud.
Playing both sides against the other, the gunman escalates the war to his own benefit, going all Yojimbo on everybody's asses.
This is Miike's weird homage to the Italian spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly Sergio Corbucci's moody, violent Django series. While it has Miike's customary moments of whacked-out brilliance, they're spaced out between a lot of really dull dialogue scenes. (The film is in English, but the actors have learned their lines phonetically; thus, it's also subtitled so we can better understand their exchanges.)
Miike plays with genres like a small child playing with Lego. You get the sense that he could build something really great if he only knew what he was doing.
The version being released in North America is 25 minutes shorter than the print screened at last year's Toronto Film Festival. This cut does move the action along considerably faster, but it's still rough going. I'm inclined to suggest you wait for the DVD and watch it with a roomful of friends in the altered state of your choosing.
That's bound to help.