Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 2nd, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, September 15th, 2007
Director: Takashi Miike
Writers: Takashi Miike, Masa Nakamura
Cast: Yoshino Kimura, Hideaki Ito, Koichi Sato, Masanobu Ando, Yusuke Iseya, Teruyuki Kagawa, Kaori Momoi, Quentin Tarantino
DVD released: February 6th, 2008
Approximate running time: 121 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 6.1ch Surround English, DTS 6.1ch Surround English, Dolby Digital 6.1ch Surround Japanese
DVD Release: Geneon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 NTSC (Japan)
Retail Price: $35.75 (3,800 Yen)
Synopsis: A mysterious gunslinger puts himself between two rivaling gangs who are terrorizing a town.
Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django is the most satisfying, entertaining and revolutionary western since Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. The evolution of the western has taken some interesting turns over the years from its early days with John Ford and John Wayne. In the 1960’s the Italians revived the western with their slant on the genre which is often referred to as Spaghetti Westerns. Since the decline of the Spaghetti western in the early 1970’s very few westerns have been released that can claim the status of classic. The Japanese like the Italians have made films in just about every genre that has emerged out of Hollywood except the western which only a few films from this genre were ever made before Sukiyaki Western Django. It is almost appropriate that part of the title for Takashi Miike’s western takes a name of food that is closely associated with the Japanese culture in the same way how the Italians westerns obtained the nickname Spaghetti for their westerns.
Fans of the style associated with the Spaghetti western will quickly pick up on director Takashi Miike’s many references to films from this genre. Takashi Miike also employees all the stylistic cliché’s that one comes to expect visually from a Spaghetti western. To simply write off Sukiyaki Western Django as a remake of Sergio Corbucci’s Django or as a film filled with pastiches’ from other Spaghetti westerns completely missing the point of the film which is an entity all of its own. One way to approach Sukiyaki Western Django is too look at it as a more of prequel to Django then a remake.
The action is fast, bloody and unflinching just like the old west it pays homage too. The cast (excluding Quentin Tarantino) in the film all speak English despite it being their second language. They are all easy to understand except the actor who portrays the leader of the “Reds”. Having the cast speak English is an odd but appropriate choice which follows the blue print set by Spaghetti western that were often dubbed in several different languages. You don’t have to have any knowledge or have seen any of the films that are being referenced to find enjoyment or being able to follow the story.
The only part of the film that I found out of place was the casting of Quentin Tarantino whose performances is the weakest in the film. The casting of Quentin Tarantino is kind of ironic since all of his films are pastiches’ of other films. Even though Quentin Tarantino is known for his film pastiches Takashi Miike out does him with Sukiyaki Western Django his homage to the Spaghetti western genre.
Sukiyaki Western Django is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 scope photography. The image looks razor sharp and colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look natural. There are no problems with edge enhancement, compression or artifacts’.
This release comes with multiple audio options which include a Dolby Digital 6.1ch Surround English, DTS 6.1ch Surround English and a Dolby Digital 6.1ch Surround Japanese. All three audio options sound phenomenal as they are all evenly balanced, crystal clear and the effects/music packs a lot of punch. Japanese subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release consist of theatrical trailers for the film and an audio commentary with director Takashi Miike (in Japanese with no English subtitles). There is also a deluxe edition of Sukiyaki Western Django also available from Geneon Entertainment. Genoen Entertainment gives Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django a superb DVD release that comes with a solid audio/video presentation. Unfortunately all the extra content on this edition and the deluxe edition of this film is not English language friendly.