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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Western > Martial Arts > Sukiyaki Western Django (First Look Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Sukiyaki Western Django (First Look Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B+/B     Sound: B+/B     Extras: B     Film: B



Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is often compared or even considered the Quentin Tarantino of Eastern cinema, his films are often violent, brutal, artsy, and yet critically acclaimed for their brilliant ability to craftily weave together stories in some of the strong ways that Tarantino does here in America.  There is little doubt that both filmmakers are modern masters, but have U.S. audiences warmed up to Takashi just yet?  His recently film Sukiyaki Western Django should certainly capture some attention and rightfully so! 


For decades Japanese cinema has been a huge influence on Westerns, especially the films of Akira Kurosawa as just about every film he made was translated into some form of a Western, but here Miike makes his own Western, which interestingly enough has Eastern influences instead, so he flips the situation around and makes a highly stylized Western unlike any other.  As expected the film is graphically violent, but in ways that make sense.  The story involves a gunman who gets between two rival clans that exists over a hidden treasure in a nearby town.  The remainder of the film is devoted to the gunman’s attempts to get the biggest reward from whichever side is willing to pay him more for his professional gunman services. 


The film has been released in both the DVD and Blu-ray format, the DVD comes in a really nifty tin case, while the Blu-ray offers superior technical qualities.  Both transfers are framed at 2.35 X 1, with the Blu-ray being a 1080p High Definition transfer.  As expected the Blu-ray offers superior resolution, detail, and fidelity over the DVD, which is decent, but cannot match the lush Blu-ray transfer.  Colors are warmer, depth is more consistent and softness is not really an issue, although it should be noted that at times the film is made to look grainy, which is part of the artistic styling of the film, not a defect in the transfer.  Much like Natural Born Killers (http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/7214/Natural+Born+Killers) on Blu-ray we noticed that since the film was shot in 8mm, 16mm and 35mm there were different textures to the film to give it a certain look, the same is true here with loads of interesting camera work to give the film it’s unique palette. 


The audio is quite impressive on both, but the Blu-ray is the sure winner with an entertaining Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 mix that surpasses the limited Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD.  The film is highly action-oriented and the presentation audio-wise is highly articulate with loads of surround moments and the Dolby TrueHD is very engaging and feels more natural.  


Unfortunately there are not a wealth of supplements here, most of the extras are advertisements and not ‘true’ extras.  The Blu-ray features the digital copy, plus a brief making-of featurette, deleted scenes, along with trailers and BD Live, which enables the viewer to download material, which I attempted several times, but received an error message each time.  Digital Copy and BD Live are exclusive to the Blu-ray disc only. 


Hopefully this film will open up most eyes to the filmmaking powers that are outside U.S. borders, especially since this film is in English, despite being filmed with Japanese actors under a Japanese director.  It’s obvious that this is a great attempt to get exposure to these talents and with the cameo performance by Quentin Tarantino it’s great to see that his endorsement exists as well here, which no doubt will help sell this film!  Despite a small supply of extras, the DVD tin is a great little collector’s item and the technical features on the Blu-ray make this a title to own!



-   Nate Goss


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