"Worth seeing and a good way to spend 2 hours."
Director: Kitano Takeshi
Producers: Mori Masayuki, Yoshida Takio
Writer: Kitano Takeshi
Cast: Beat Takeshi, Sekiguchi Yusuke, Kishimoto Kayoko, Yoshiyuki Kazuko, Hosokawa Fumie, Maro Akaji
Running Time: 121 min.
Plot: See Len's review below.
LEN'S REVIEW: After the brilliant Hana-Bi, Takeshi Kitano tried doing something completely different. Or that's what it seemed like at first. Actually, this is just Kitano going back to his roots as a comedian, and the end result is a tremendously enjoyable, but flawed film.
Basically, whereas older Kitano films had violence and comedy mixed with drama, this one loses the violence and concentrates on the comedy. I guess that in a way, this was a logical step after the doom and gloom of Hana-Bi, and shows us the other side of Kitano. It'd be useless to give a proper plot synopsis, as this film is somewhat plotless, and more just a collection of funny bits held together by a loose narrative. In short, this is a road movie that pairs Kitano with a cute kid. They meet all kinds of hilarious characters and get in trouble and so on, but in the end everything is ok.
This is not to say that this is a bad movie, far from it actually, but I would've liked to seen Kitano do something more with the source material, not to mention that this film could've used some trimming. Few scenes were stretched endlessly, maybe not much, but I think this film would've worked better if the pacing was a bit tighter.
Still, there's a lot about this film that succeeds admirably. Kitano's dry humor works really well here, with some of the most memorable comedic scenes I've ever seen in his films (like the robot, the hell's angels or the bike track) and as usual, the cinematography is gorgeous, not to mention the music by Joe Hisaishi, which is brilliant. Worth seeing and a good way to spend 2 hours.
LEN'S RATING: 8.5/10