Survive Style 5 (2004)
Directed by Gen Sekiguchi
Starring Tadanobu Asano (Vital, Caf Lumire), Vinnie Jones (X Men III), Kyko Koizumi (Blue Spring)
"What is your function in life?"
Five interconnected stories edited in a similar style to Pulp Fiction, the difference being the total humour and outrageousness of each of these tales.
1. A man kills his wife and buries her in a forest, returning home he grabs a carton of milk from the fridge, turns around and there sitting at the kitchen table, as large as life is his wife! Again and again over the following days he kills her, even hiring a hit man on one occasion. Again and again she returns, to punish him in different ways depending on the method he had used to kill her. For instance, after killing her for the third or fourth time, he chops the body up only for her to shoot her forearms at him like missiles the following day.
2. An advertising executive carries a tape recorder with her everywhere she goes, she often gets ideas and needs to record her thoughts straight away, always finishing with one of the most bizarre sniggers/laughs youre ever likely to have heard. She is unhappily married to a T.V. celebrity hypnotist and procures a hit man to bump him off, meanwhile her career isnt running too smoothly as some of her advertising ideas are a little too way out there for her customers.
3. A family take a trip to a hypnotism show, he offers 1,000,000 yen to anyone he cannot put into a trance, the father accepts the challenge but ends up being hypnotised into believing hes a bird. This wouldnt be so bad but before he can be released from the trance the hypnotist is killed by a hit man. The family returns home but the father still believes hes a bird which starts to become difficult for most of his family to cope with.
4. A gang of inept burglars raid a house, they find little worth stealing but get excited when they find some trump cards. Having to conceal themselves quickly when they hear family return, they are convinced theyve been rumbled when the father opens the wardrobe theyre hiding in, luckily for them he just coo's like a pigeon then closes the door again. There is another problem within the gang though; one of them appears to have a crush on another, an affection that doesnt appear to be welcomed never mind reciprocated.
5. An English hit man has been hired (because Western things are sophisticated and better) by an advertising executive to eliminate her husband. He flies into Tokyo with his interpreter (who seems to ad-lib more than a little with the interpretation), the assassin isnt exactly what anyone would define as sophisticated, he has a very short temper and a habit of asking people the same question, What is your function in life?. Whilst in Tokyo he takes on another hit and takes in various aspects of Japanese life.
There may seem to be a lot of listed but the majority of this happens within the first twenty to thirty minutes of the film. This is the wild, crazy and kitsch side of Japan, garish colours and idealised settings, nothing can prepare you for the utter pleasure this film gives, a pure joy from start to finish as the story cuts from one to another and each intersects with the others. I cant say I was looking forward to seeing a film with Vinnie Jones in but he lampoons his own image with great aplomb.
Its mad, its laugh out loud funny, it is probably the best all round entertainment Ive seen this year and really plays to the colourful and kitsch side of Japanese culture. A high recommendation for a wonderfully constructed movie that will leave you wanting more, the cast are excellent and Id love to see some sort of behind the scenes doc as Im sure they must have had a great time making the film.
Any weak points? The editing between the stories could have been slightly better as it jumps from one to another very quickly at times but it certainly wont diminish your enjoyment of the film as a whole.
BBFC rated 15
R2 dvd available from Manga.