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Izo (Special Edition)

3.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Oct 11, 2005)
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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

Special Features

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

Product Details

  • Actors: Kazuya Nakayama, Kaori Momoi, Ryûhei Matsuda, Ryôsuke Miki, Yûya Uchida
  • Directors: Takashi Miike
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese (Unknown), English (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 (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AC7P3S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,586 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Izo (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
One should always go into a Miike Takeshi flick expecting something weird. That is just taken for granted. Anyone who wants a "safe" film should just put the Miike box down and walk away. Of course, weird does not always guarantee good.

Okada Izo was an actual historical figure, a samurai from the late Edo period and one of the most feared assassins of his time. He met a messy end, being tortured and crucified, thus ensuring his transformation into a legend. Gosha Hideo chronicled Izo's life and death in the 1969 film "Hitokiri." Miike Takashi took the challenge of filming Izo's afterlife, setting his film "Izo" as a direct sequel to the earlier Gosha movie.

The story begins with Izo's death and the resurrection of his angry spirit, which is propelled backwards and forwards in time and space on a perpetual killing spree. Izo himself does not really understand the motivations of his actions, being guided by some other force, and while he is able to feel pain he can never die again. He only slaughters, becoming more and more demon-like in appearance (and super-hero-like, complete with mask and cape) and his killing continues. His ultimate target is thought to be the group that controls humanity, the military, media, scholars and religious figures who conspire to keep people ignorant and controllable. Towards the end though, Izo has completely forgotten what he is trying to accomplish, and just cuts down anyone in front of him.

In order to create some buzz and interest in a somewhat esoteric project, the producers of "Izo" went with a "dream team" casting of pairing popular auteur Kitano "Beat" Takeshi (
...Read more ›
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