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Izo (Special Edition) (2004)

Kazuya Nakayama , Kaori Momoi , Takashi Miike  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kazuya Nakayama, Kaori Momoi, RyŻhei Matsuda, RyŰsuke Miki, YŻya Uchida
  • Directors: Takashi Miike
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Unknown), Japanese (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Tokyo Shock
  • DVD Release Date: October 11, 2005
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AC7P3S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,843 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Izo (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with director Takashi Miike
  • Making of Izo
  • Secrets of Izo
  • Original trailers

Editorial Reviews

From Director Takashi Miike (Ichi The Killer, One Missed Call) Okada Izo- A historical figure, was a samurai warrior from a low-class family of mid-west Japan. His talent as a swordsman was discovered by a powerful samurai warlord, who recruited Izo as a

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Brilliance August 4, 2010
Some reviewers have said that Izo is merely a senseless bloodbath. Nothing could be further from the case.

Izo was an assassin on the losing side of a war; he was crucified after its completion. His spirit then seeks out revenge against the universe itself.

The rulers - the bishop, the scholar, the general, and so on - which he seeks to destroy should not be seen as mere individuals. They are prototypes, representatives of the elements of the system of control afflicting humanity from time immemorial. They also govern the cosmos' karmic order; Izo's revenge is against the fundamental deceit underlying it.

At first, Izo's story is purely one of revenge; over time, it takes on an additional quality - a search the reason of his existence. His enemies can't understand this pursuit. It is false to say that Izo kills without discrimination - in fact, attentive viewers become sympathetic to Izo as the plot continues, as we see how each kill anguishes his soul. He only kills those who stand in the way of his quest or who embody society's deceitful structure, such as the couple in the marriage ceremony. The students in class, who are learning the truth, are left alone despite Izo's recalling of Hanpeita's admonition to become a killing machine. Quietly eating peasants are untouched.

This movie is, I think, Miike's greatest film. It would help to brush up on Japanese culture before viewing - to understand the notion of karma and some symbolism (a spinner, for example, is a sign of fate). The effort will be well spent.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miike's masterpiece February 10, 2008
By ac
It's hard to be familiar with the movies of Takashi Miike. Despite seeing the majority of his films released in America (and even a few that have yet to be released here), it's hard not to feel like I've lost something in translation. I can appreciate the humor, the violence, the plotlines, etc but there are usually parts that confuse me, and his movies typically require repeated watchings. It's not that I'm particularly new to the films he creates or the films of Japanese directors in general ("Tetsuo" creator Tsukamoto is probably my favorite director); the point I'm trying to illustrate is that you have to WANT to appreciate his films. You have to work hard sometimes to get into what he's doing, because he often throws conventional plot points, "hooks" that grab you, and structure out the window. Even his most fairly straightforward films take many detours into the bizarre (see the tank randomly showing up in "Family" or the rocket launcher that comes out on nowhere in at least two of his films!)...

So, it's not surprising that this is one of the lesser-recieved of Miike's works. Using the "hook" of a sword fighting epic initially gets people interested in this film, but seeing no conventional plot or point to what is happening throws people off. This confuses me -- though I definitely didn't grasp everything upon the first viewing of this, I was still instantly amazed at what Miike has set up here: A journey through one man's tortured soul. Even if you don't feel like you understand everything that's happening, you still realize this film is genius -- maybe you just haven't figured out why yet.

Upon repeated viewings, however, I figured out why. As another reviewer mentioned, you have to kind of look in between the lines.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth more than 1 viewing November 2, 2006
Miike is certainly not a conventional filmmaker and this may be his most unconvetional film. That doesn't make it bad(far from it), nihlism & self destruction are the main themes played out in an almost acid trip of a movie.

For some reason it reminds me of The Last Temptaion of Christ splattered in blood, begging for mercy and asking the ultimate truth of human suffering.(with some really great cameos)

Only for true Miike fans.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars takes cinematic bodycount to a whole new level August 3, 2005
A simple idea: a man is being killed somewhen far in the past but his soul turns into a wandering spirit that is drifting throught it's own inner hell. In my opinion the conclusion could be understood purely psychological: if you hate the world the world will hate you because your hate will be understood and answered the same way, like it or not.

Philosophical in a way, this movie is infinitly uncompromising. Imagine Kill Bill, remove the "Assasin squad" and replace it with all sorts of historical enemies, ranging from samurai spirits to demon killers to demons to Yakuzas to SWAT teams to school kids to female teachers to infernal whores to a wedding banquet to your own mother... the list goes on and there's more blood and guts here than in Ichi the killer, a lot more actually. The gods are dressed like business men, commanding all those historical enemies to stop Izo from crushing them.

Izo hates everything that exists and so does everything that exists hate Izo, but nothing 'really' exists. Izo is a wandering soul that has no soul, he is the "infinite absurdity". This movie is the most consequent version of the classic 'never ending hell' tale. Long after Izo has begun killing everyone standing in his way, he and the audience comes to realize that there is no way, there is no goal, there is only the neverending slaughter and vengeance of everything, hell is repetition with no end, violence leads to more violence. Izo somehow symbolizes the capacity of violence, so it's only logic he can't die. As long as violence comes his way in the guise of his attackers, he continues to exist. Yeah, it's that simple and the formula isn't going to change untill the very end of the movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very deep, cerebral and beautiful
The Japanese have cinematography nailed Izo on the cross near the beginning of the film. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mother Mac
1.0 out of 5 stars A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a "movie" that should not...
If you've "seen" this "movie" I feel your pain.
Don't get me wrong I enjoyed quite a few of Miike's films However this doesn't have the right to be called a film. Read more
Published on August 20, 2009 by karasumusha
3.0 out of 5 stars You have to decide for yourself
One should always go into a Miike Takeshi flick expecting something weird. That is just taken for granted. Read more
Published on April 29, 2009 by Zack Davisson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not What Was Expected
To see this is interesting to say the least. I can now say I have. I will check if off my viewing. To keep it? Not unless I like school children muttering philosophy. Read more
Published on March 23, 2009 by Jerry Guinn
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a martial arts film!
It's not a martial arts movie; it is about a philosophy; a way of living and dying. Izo can be a type of demon or even a manifestation of Satan; he is in a Hell of his own creation... Read more
Published on April 26, 2008 by LFrog1386
4.0 out of 5 stars I am a spirit seeking vengeance
Wow, another demented head trip by Miike. I'm not exactly sure what I just watched, but I know it was great. Read more
Published on November 18, 2007 by C. Christopher Blackshere
5.0 out of 5 stars Transrational Masterpiece!
This film stands in a VERY select group of films that manage to achieve both a cinematic and a philosophical brilliance. Read more
Published on October 24, 2007 by Stacy R. Ange
1.0 out of 5 stars A movie full of sword fights that manages to be unbelievably boring
I almost watched this movie to its entirety when I finally just could not take being bored further. I was even fast-forwarding through the last 20 minutes in case anything... Read more
Published on October 11, 2006 by Gregory M. Li
1.0 out of 5 stars Martial Mush
Maybe it's me but I cant understand why some martial movies don't stick to the format of a basic story line nothing to compilcated but simple, wrapped around well designed fight... Read more
Published on July 1, 2006 by Brian P. Webb
2.0 out of 5 stars IZO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to "Wux Iapan Fantas" I think that I almost understand this movie now. And I can truly say that I have never seen a movie like this. Read more
Published on April 27, 2006 by morgoth
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