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Sukiyaki Western Django - Blu-ray DVD / action and adventure DVD / Western DVD review
SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Kaori Momoi, Koichi Sato, Quentin Tarantino, Takaaki Ishibashi, Teruyuki Kagawa
Director: Takashi Miike Studio: First Look Pictures
DVD release: 11 November 2008 Runtime: 98 min.
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital AC-3 Surround Sound), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish), Previews, Deleted scenes, Making-of featurette, Sukiyaki trailers, BD Live, Digital download music

Sukiyaki - A traditional Japanese dish consisting of beef and vegetables cooked in a shallow iron pot.

Django - A 1966 film considered an excellent example of the Spaghetti Western.

Director Takashi Miike's homage to the spaghetti Western bears a strong narrative resemblance to Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars, but it's title suggests a relationship to Sergio Corbucci's Django. Regardless, it's the most interesting mix-up of genre films I've seen.

Two rival gangs in the town of Nevada, Utah hope to claim a fabled treasure: the Heike, who wear red, and the Genji, who wear white. They don't much care if they lay waste to the town, so long as they get the treasure before the other. Each group claims the town to be under its rule. The Heike first paint their color on the town's entrance. The Gengi come to town and paint over the red. The Gengi let the Heiki do the digging for the treasure and wait for it to surface.

A hero known only as The Gunman (Hideaki Ito) rides into town looking for a fabled treasure. Gunman shows off his chops to begin with, offering his services to whichever gang can come up with the most prosperous offer. The Gunman gets the low-down on the current town politics by the local barkeep, Ruriko (Kaori Momoi). It's a classic story you'd find in a spaghetti Western, but what sets this film apart from that genre is its style. The characters wield not just six-shooters but Samurai swords. The fight scenes are more modern and stylized than in the original Italian Westerns. The actors all speak English (they must've learned their lines phonetically). The end result is a must-see film if you enjoy Japanese cinema, spaghetti Westerns or just a good action flick - you won't be disappointed.

Quentin Tarantino makes a few brief appearances; at the beginning, as a prologue to the story, he provides philosophical foundations for the film. He's on a studio set with an unrealistic sky, two-dimensional mountain, and an overly-large sun suspended from a visible cable. Near the end he plays the same character, but much older and in a mechanized wheelchair. Cinemaphile Tarantino surely digs this genre mash-up. That he lends his face and name to the project gives Sukiyaki Western Django serious street cred in the U.S., but it's a fine film even without his okey-dokey.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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