Sukiyaki Western Django

Directed By: Takashi Miike


SWD is a deliriously bent, un-apologetically incoherent blast of a film. This is the disfigured lovechild of Leone’s Western shtick and hyper-gory Hong Kong action tropes, with dialogue performed by some diabolical Berlitz “Lern to Speek Inglish” language tape.

For casual viewers, the obvious connection would be to the filmmaker who shows up first on screen, Quentin Tarantino. Roughly a Romeo and Juliet story mashed with the usual rival gang banter of Western lore, the plot is certainly not the most original or captivating element. The enjoyment from the film instead comes from its sheer bravado, a steamroller of ridiculousness that plows down any worries about the subtleties of dramaturgical construction.

There’s plenty of gun fights, kicking, silly dialogue, over the top screaming villains and slick low-angled shots to keep the thing rolling. The English is so poor that it is subtitled, but the cadence of the performance (mostly mumbled phonetic acting) provides a certain sense of musicality to the dialogue. Even Quentin chooses for his own speaking role this slurry delivery, and it gives the whole thing an even greater sense of silliness and fun.

In the end, this is no cerebral post-modern take on cinematic appropriation; it’s a ridiculous film with, a unique and insane vision, the irreverent flipside to Leone’s own fascination with Asian cinema. As convoluted and clunky as its title, SWD succeeds greatly in providing great entertainment, and is a pleasure to watch.

Grade: A-


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