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August 29, 2008

Sukiyaki Western Django

Japanese suspense maestro Takashi Miike pays homage to the spaghetti western genre with a story born of Sergio Leone’s "A Fistful of Dollars," which was originally inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s "Yojimbo." Set in a visually fascinating late 19th century setting of a dusty small town, two rival gangs—the red Heike and the white-clothed Genji clan engage in ritualized battles that involve samurai swords and pistols. The film’s Japanese cast speaks English and act out their well-established western characters with a punkish swagger that gives the movie a fun-loving quality. Quentin Tarantino appears in an extended theatrical set piece that introduces the audience to Miike’s lush color palate and winking sense of humor. Tarantino’s awful Japanese accent is as funny as the film’s ironic use of eastern and western symbolism is gratifying.

(First Look Studio) Rated R, 121 mins. (B) (Three Stars)

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