Sukiyaki Western Django

Director Takashi Miike is one strange dude, and that inherent weirdness is on full display in “Sukiyaki Western Django,” an unofficial remake of “A Fistful of Dollars” using a mostly Japanese cast speaking broken English. Set a few hundred years after the Genpei War, the movie takes place in a city called Utah-Nevada where two rival gangs – the Reds and the Whites – battle for control over a legendary treasure hidden somewhere in town. When a lone gunman arrives one day, the leaders of both clans try to woo him over to their side, only to discover that the nameless sharpshooter has plans of his own. Unfortunately, Miike’s homage to the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns feels more like parody, and the choice to have his Japanese actors speak English (even though most of them are just sounding out the words phonetically) is just the start of the problems. The story jumps around so much that it’s difficult to keep the paper-thin story straight, the dialogue is incredibly lame, and there’s a surprising lack of action for a movie whose trailer was loaded with it. Additionally, most of the comedy injected into the story doesn’t work very well (namely a schizophrenic sheriff who comes off looking like Gollum from “Lord of the Rings”), and Quentin Tarantino delivers his worst onscreen performance since “Little Nicky.” “Sukiyaki Western Django” isn’t even half the film it could have been, and while many will expect something along the lines of a fun midnight movie, all you’ll find is a great idea gone to waste.

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