Friday, September 23, 2011

Review Snapshots

13 Assassins (A-): Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is best known for his 1999 horror masterpiece Audition, but his irreverent take on the samurai genre is a worthy addition to his prolific filmography (over 70 films). When the shogun’s sadistic brother threatens peace among the nation, 12 samurai and a nomadic warrior join together to defeat his army. One of the most striking things about the film is that the villain’s defenders are as admirable as the film’s heroes, bound by a code of honor that doesn’t allow them to question their leader’s behavior. The film takes some time to get going as it brings the heroes together, but as the two forces clash the film becomes a great spectacle.

Hobo with a Shotgun (B): Some films are rich with subtext, symbolism, and meaning. Others feature homeless men with shotguns shooting criminals. Hobo with a Shotgun is unmistakably the latter, and simply put, the film is a blast for genre fans and all-around sickos. If Drive is an example of how to elevate a genre-film to mythic proportions, Hobo with a Shotgun revels in the gutter as a gloriously sick piece of genre trash. And how many other films feature villains resembling an extra-sleazy take on Tom Cruise circa-Risky Business?

I Saw the Devil (B): Korean genre-filmmaker Kim Ji-woon’s ultra-revenge film serves almost as an “I’ll fucking show you” answer to fellow countryman Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. The film’s extreme violence and ugliness is sometimes testing, and it repeats itself too often with the cat-and-mouse game between a serial killer (Oldboy’s Choi Min-sik) and a man who wants revenge for the death of his fiancĂ©e (Lee Byung-hun). But the filmmaking is so strong that it’s easy to overlook the sometimes creaky story. Extra points for Min-sik’s performance as a killer who somehow manages to become more of a monster as he’s faced with his impending death.

No comments:

Post a Comment