Blu-ray Review: Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)

July 26, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

1880’s Japan, but it’s like the American old West. That’s the main conceit of the blazing insanity that is Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django… a picture that has about as much to do with Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 epic Django as anyone of the four billion sequels-in-name-only that followed it.

Along with that lil’ elevator pitch up yonder, the plot of this frenzied flick concerns two gangs; one coded red (the Heike clan), the other white (the Genji clan)… both lead by mentally unstable maniacs… who have a wild hair up their ass about having the biggest dick in the ol’ East, and to hell with the town caught in the middle.

Enter: a mysterious unnamed gunman (Hideaki Itô) who’s none too thrilled about the gangs, or their effect on the community… hell, he’s just plain ol’ none too thrilled, and it doesn’t take long for the tensions and body count to rise… all in some of the most ludicrous ways possible!

Look, if you are going into Sukiyaki Western Django thinking it’s going to be a grim, violence fest… well, you’d be half right; this picture has plenty of that good ol’ carnage us lot crave, and to be fair, there are some harsh moments… but this fuckin’ pic is straight up a cartoon brought to vivid life (except for the one brief part that’s actually a cartoon)… right down to the Looney Tunes style sound effects that crop up from time to time!

The entire affair is straight up surreal, absurdist nonsense… and that is what makes it absolutely glorious! One minute the action takes place on a stage with painted backdrops, the next we are in a chill Autumnal countryside filled with dirt, grime, and above all… mud that instantly brings to mind the spaghetti westerns that served as the film’s inspiration, guns do outrageous levels of gory violence to those on the receiving end of their lead, the town’s sheriff is certifiable and engages in physical slapstick that would do Bruce Campbell proud, and of course we get Quentin Tarantino in some truly grotesque, yet awesome, old-age make-up that’s like a combo of Dick Smith’s Little Big Man work combined with something you’d get from Troma… and that barely scratches the surface of what this film throws your way!

The biggest bitch I think some of you lot may have with this one, is that the Japanese cast delivers their lines phonetically in English. I’m not going to say it isn’t a bit distracting at first, but then it hits ya; this is the final step to ensuring that you are immersed in the fact that Sukiyaki Western Django takes place in a one-of-a-kind environment that is presented exactly as it needs to be!

So the feature flick is a rootin’ tootin’ hoot, but there’s more here to add to your good times, as MVD Entertainment have also included some damn fine bonus features on this Blu-ray, chief among them is the original Japanese cut of the film that runs twenty-one minutes longer than the version we initially got in North America!

Also included are a selection of deleted scenes, a nearly hour long “making of” piece, a promotional “sizzle reel” and other promo clips, and a collection of U’S. and Japanese trailers and TV spots for the film.

If you love spaghetti westerns, Looney Tunes, and anime; Sukiyaki Western Django will be a flick you absolutely adore… a surreal, violent, often hilarious journey to an old West that could surely only exist in the mind of a cinematic madman like Miike!



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