Sukiyaki Western Django

First Look Pictures

I hardly have words for this film. We rented it recently solely based on Quentin Tarantino’s involvement. Usually I like his stuff, however bizarre. This time, though … what was he thinking? The film, a Japanese take on the spaghetti western, is directed (and co-written) by Takashi Miike, well known for his Japanese horror films. The thing is, the only parts that really echo the spaghetti western feel are the scenes starring Tarantino (and the fact that the Japanese actors speak English throughout). The rest of the movie, which chronicles a small town’s rival gangs—the red and the white—and a gun-slinging stranger who pops in to start trouble, is beautifully done. The fight scenes are fun, and those depicting a red-and-white couple are tender. Unfortunately, the plot doesn’t sit still long enough to develop any one story, instead offering mere snippets of good ideas. Many people will no-doubt love this film, as Tarantino apparently does, but it feels to me more about the hype than actual substance.