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Kill! (The Criterion Collection)

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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(Jun 01, 2010)
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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

In this pitch-black action comedy by Kihachi Okamoto, a pair of down-on-their-luck swordsmen arrive in a dusty, windblown town, where they become involved in a local clan dispute. One, previously a farmer, longs to become a noble samurai. The other, a former samurai haunted by his past, prefers living anonymously with gangsters. But when both men discover the wrongdoings of the nefarious clan leader, they side with a band of rebels who are under siege at a remote mountain cabin. Based on the same source novel as Akira Kurosawa's Sanjuro, Kill! playfully tweaks samurai film convention, mixing in elements from Italian westerns and established chanbara classics alike.

Special Features

  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New essay by film and culture critic Howard Hampton

Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Etsushi Takahashi, Yuriko Hoshi, Tadao Nakamaru, Akira Kubo
  • Directors: Kihachi Okamoto
  • Writers: Kihachi Okamoto, Akira Murao, Shûgorô Yamamoto
  • Producers: Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AQKUC2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,631 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kill! (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 30, 2005
Format: DVD
All genres, such as Western, Horror or Science Fiction, eventually become a bit played out, and a parody is needed to poke fun at the cliches and stereotypes, wiping the slate clean and allowing for a re-invention of the genre. It happened with such films as "Scream" and "Blazing Saddles." For the Samurai genre there is "Kill!"

Directed by Okamoto Kihachi ("Sword of Doom," "Zatoichi Vs. Yojimbo," "Samurai Assassin"), "Kill!" (Japanese title "Kiru") is not a blatant comedy, and many fail to see its humor. Like anything that plays with genre, one has to be fairly familiar with the "rules" to understand the jokes that are being made at their expense. There is some visual slapstick, and some very funny scenes (some of the battles are filmed in fast-motion, making the Samurai run around like the Keystone Cops), but most of the humor is far more subtle and black.

The story finds three warriors coming together on a single path. Genta, a roguish wandering Yakuza, seems to know more than he should considering his station. Hanji is a rough-hewn farmer who seeks to increase his lot in life, and tries to pass himself off as a Samurai. Tetsutaro is an idealistic and proper Samurai, who's belief in honor allows him to be manipulated by those less honorable and more crafty. Tetsutaro is being set up to take a fall, as his lord convinces him to assemble a group to assassinate a rival official, and then promptly sells him out once the deed is done. Hanji, a man of immense strength and little talent, is hired as a Samurai by Tetsutaro's lord and then sent to his group, now holed up in a hidden fortress.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is another selection from Criterion's Rebel Samurai collection.

What a fun film! I didn't realize until it was over that it was based on the same story that Kurosawa adapted for Sanjuro. As I was watching, some similarities did occur to me (scruffy-but-skilled protagonist with disdain for traditional samurai life; small group of samurai hiding out from corrupt official), but it is otherwise (and even in those similarities) a completely different story.

The basic plot concerns a group of samurai who assassinate a corrupt official and then go into hiding, awaiting the arrival of the good official from the north who will come set everything right. As they are waiting, another corrupt official is trying to hunt them down. The two main characters come into town looking for work and food, and become involved on opposite sides.

Tatsuya Nakadai plays the experienced and world weary Genta, and it's my favorite role of his yet. He's such an affable decent fellow, and his interactions with Hanjiro (Etsushi Takahashi) make up a large part of the charm of the movie. It's also very different from his role in Sanjuro, which is also very different from that in Yojimbo (that guy is in just about every samurai movie). Hanjiro is an aspiring samurai, a former farmer whose years of toil have made him very strong.
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Format: DVD
The film "Kill," is not one of your usual samurai flicks, therefore, it might not be for everyone. However, I thought it was pretty good, and I certainly liked the parody that the film delivers in this samurai flick. This film was directed by Kihachi Okamoto, who also brought the world the epic samurai film, "Sword of Doom," [which also stars Tatsuya Nakadai]. The film is very dark, and humorous at the same time. I remember first seeing this film with my best friend years ago, and it was a pleasure to finally purchase it and watch it again. I liked it when I first saw it, and many years later, I still enjoyed the film. Only, I liked it more now, as the films dark humor and parody which I did not understand at the time no longer allude me. This humor is infused into the characters. This is what makes the film so different.

Quite frankly, I really laughed hard at the parts where the samurai were running around during the battle scenes, only the film was put into fast forward motion, and what you have is an early 1920s type vignette of a film in which the samurai are intentionally moving at a fast pace. Now that's funny. Especially when you have a film starring (Tatsuya Nakadai) in the starring role. [Who can forget his character in "Sword of Doom?"] The film centers on three warriors. The first one, Genta, (Tatsuya Nakadai) is a wandering yakuza. The second one is Hanji, (Takahashi Etsushi) a farmer who wants to better his lot in life, and poses as a samurai. While the third character is named Tetsutaro, and he is a true samurai.

Tetsutaro is basically being set up by his Lord as the patsy. His lord convinces him that it is necessary to kill a rival lord. He wants Tetsutaro to gather up a group of assassins to kill this rival official.
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