We started the film over the faint noise of bagpipes, although to this day I have no idea where they were coming from. This was a suitably surreal start to things as again I find myself at a loss for words when it comes to actually describing the movie. It’s 2001 (the future) and prisons are now extremely harsh corporate run entities. Or something. Each wing of the prison is run by a different gang leader, referred to collectively as “the Gang of Four”, which I’ll admit made the three of us present with a taste for the Manchester sound giggle. The “gang” consists of a guy with lots of tattoos, a really big guy with a wicked goatee and a triton, some guy with bleached bangs that look like he has an ass on his head and an effeminate Qi-Gong master who flies out of the sewer kinda like Peter Pan. Then there’s Riki Ho (I don’t quite get it either), the baddest of all bad asses. We learn through flashbacks that he’s really a gentle soul, he was just pushed too far. And now he’s pushing back.

However, this is only part of what makes this movie so great. If you do watch it (which if you haven’t already, you really should, right now), make sure you get the English dub to get the full effect of the amazing dialogue. Everything is said in rapid-fire declarative sentences and every other sentence is punctuated by “BASTARRD!” Also, it’s really gory. And it appears to have been made on the budget of your average karaoke video, and it gets just as sappy. Not to mention the fact that it’s based on an insane-o Manga. Initial reaction was best captured by the following exchange:

Owen: “This is simultaneously the best movie ever and the worst movie ever.”

Jason: “Soon it’ll just be the best movie ever.”

Then our hero (Bin Shimada) punches right through an incredibly obese villain’s gut, releasing his intestines in a geyser of blood and gore.

Owen: “You’re right. Best movie ever.”

Things that happen in this movie: fat man gets his guts punched out, man gets strangled by other man’s intestines, man gets his nose planed off, man ties his own tendons together with his own teeth to make his arm work, a man crushes another man’s head with his bare hands, and a man is fed through a meat grinder. Also, and this may be the Peeps talking, but I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be a Jesus metaphor. My boyfriend noted that all they needed to do was make the warden Jewish and it would have been “The Passion of the Christ”. I wonder if Mel Gibson’s seen it…

After all of this amazingness it was decided that we should skip “Braindead,” which most of us had already seen and instead watch selections from the international cut of “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” which our friend Mike was so kind as to bring along. Notable changes included a dedication to Kinji Fukusaku at the beginning of the film, an extended (more graphic) anime sequence and the entire “House of Blue Leaves” sequence in full color (and a different soundtrack). As we suspected, it really was a different experience in color and there was a lot (!) more dismemberment. American censors are pussies.

Rumblings from the peanut gallery: Between the gore and the sugar, I think everyone left the D.o.S. buzzin’. Our friend Graeme still contends that Riki is just a misunderstood emo kid and I still can’t get over his sweater vests in those flashback sequences. There were several jabs about people deciding to question the logic of the movie at various points and two failed attempts to reference “Spetters!” However, I think my boyfriend and our friend Nick summed it up best:

Boyfriend: “Please tell me there’s two more hours of this.”

Nick: “I wish.”

Mariko McDonald and her boyfriend host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.

And of course you can always offer up some juicy Back Talk>>>

Posted on May 13, 2004 in Features by

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