Violence is fun to watch. It gives a film shock value and, if done right, can set it apart from the typical horror films that are seen as of late. Ichi the Killer is definitely one of those films that hits the mark and leaves the viewer a touch baffled at what was just witnessed.
Rival Yakuza gangs in Japan are in turmoil in the beginning of this VERY graphic film. Underground crime boss Anjo is missing and right hand man Kakihara is trying to uncover what happened to him. After a bloodbath of a murder (not shown), a clean up crew led by Jijii removes all signs of Anjo being there or involved whatsoever and thinks that a lone killer is to blame. Fingers are pointed at whomever may be involved, but the conclusion is made that one man is responsible for the murders that keep recurring in these gangs. That man is Ichi “1”.
Kakihara is a pure sadomasachist. Yes I had to google what that meant entirely, but he is someone that enjoys inflicting pain and suffering onto a victim along with loving pain himself. Kakihara can’t seem to find anyone that is worthy of giving him enough pain or possibly killing him, which is his end goal at this point of his life. Ichi, on the other hand, is definitely not who one would expect him to be as such a brutal killer. Timid, meek and heavily manipulated are the best ways to describe him. It has been awhile since I have been so eager to see two characters meet and it definitely did not disappoint!
Since this film was recommended to me (thanks Scott Lake) I have been preparing myself for the brutality that would occur. Not only was it brutal, some of it was just…. gross. This is not a bad thing at all as it finds a way to tie the reasoning’s for the brutal acts according to the character’s (albeit very disturbed) personalities. Kakihara and Ichi both have reasons for why they are so brutal in their killings and it’s very interesting to see how that plays out in the sometimes confusing story.
I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to view something different and does not have an weak stomach. People get tortured a lot and that alone can make one feel uneasy. I enjoyed the story to it, but I will be honest in that I wanted to see it for the violence and gore. Some of the CGI effects are a touch sub-par, but a lot of scenes are painfully realistic. The ending was also extremely well done and thought out properly!