ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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MOH: Imprint (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Takashi Miike

Starring:
Billy Drago/Christopher
Youki Kudoh/woman
PLOT-CRUNCH
In 19th Century Japan, some Yankee duder (Drago) that yells a lot hits a brothel in search of his long, lost prostitute love. Instead he finds a deformed broad (Kudoh) and the awful truth as to what happened to his gal-toy-pal.
THE LOWDOWN

Their wildest dreams are your worst nightmares

Having seen many of Takashi Miike’s films, a slew of questions always arise when surviving them: What is he smoking? Where does he get it? And more importantly…WHAT IS HE SMOKING? Only the sweet herbs of life can explain as to how he comes up with this incredibly twisted shite, then again, maybe he’s just a motherf*cking genius. To be honest I don’t watch Masters of Horror much, I’ve seen a couple of episodes but I’m not a TV guy, hence I rarely get my horror fix there. But when I heard that Takashi Miike’s IMPRINT one hour episode was banned by Showtime, even with they’re more slack violence/nudity policies in tow when it comes to this particular show…I knew I had to see it. See it I did and man did it hurt!

I don’t want to go into too many details about IMPRINT’s storyline as NOT KNOWING much will make sure to whoop you stupid like an unwanted mother of an unwanted redheaded stepchild but I will say this; Miike isn’t getting softer with age. Praise Ulysses! Lynch came to mind as Miike reeled me into a world of wild production designs, kooky yet evil characters and flamboyant costumes. Barfing came to mind when graphic depictions of homemade abortions were slapped in my face. And wincing I DID, when needles came into play once more in Miike land (as they did in Audition) to act as instruments of torture that made the pain caused in Roth’s HOSTEL look like a walk in the park with a stuffed Teddy-Bear.

Once the needles out, I will be honest and say that “not again” did pop in mind but as the film clocked forward, I was in a tizzy to discover that "needles" wasn’t all the evil he was gonna put out in this mad Circus... there was more! The best way I can describe IMPRINT is that it was akin to a rotten fruit. As the film moved forward, I painfully witnessed the layers being peeled off, one at a time, until the horrible truth was discovered. Which brings me to my sole yet hefty complaint; the final frames made no sense to me. I know symbolism was into play and all but after being put through the ringer like nobodies bitch, I wanted the whole picture to be crystal clear, I f*cking deserved it!

With that impaled and cooked over a warm fire, IMPRINT was a keeper and then some. Only Miike can take extreme moments of torture and manage to make them look like arresting macabre paintings come to life. Yup, the man is an audacious sadist/artist! Survive Imprint!

GORE
What do you think man?!? We get some fun with needles, some more fun with abortions, some even more fun with a particular type of headache…just fun all around. Yup, I am being vague on purpose.
ACTING
Billy Drago (Christopher) is usually typecast as villains due to his unique looks here he was a villainous hero and to see him tackle this kind of role was a hoot. He did lose me a few times by always yelling his lines (try another level dude) but on the whole I loved him. Youki Kudoh (woman) was highly effective as the creepo woman and Michie Ito (Komomo) was so likeable that it hurt when she got hurt.
T & A
We get T and some A but it was hard for me to relish in it. Maybe it was the totally insane and disgusting world they were set in that kept Arrow Junior limper than Hefner minus Viagra.
DIRECTING
Well paced, with creative shots in tow, Miike once again proved to us why he is one of the more fascinating directors on the block. Only he can take repulsive imagery and somehow manage to make them look beautiful in their blocking and use of color. Aces!
SOUNDTRACK
To be honest I don’t remember it. I was too busy being traumatized by Miike’s warped shenanigans.
BOTTOM LINE
This isn't the Flintstones! Miike on TV is no different than Miike on the big screen. IMPRINT was visually arresting, sporting a unique narrative while being utterly exhausting to sit through. It took me for quite the ride, one that I won’t soon forget. In the mood for some pain? Hit it! Now if only somebody could explain to me the ending…help guys and dolls. HELP! I NEED TO KNOW!
BULL'S EYE
Masters of Horrors has been on the air since 2005, it was created by horror director Mick Garris.
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11:13PM on 12/23/2006

Great review.

I haven't seen the movie yet but this really makes me want to. Also, i think trying to decipher Takashis ending is near impossible. Audition, Box, Ichi The Killer, and One Missed Call all have these fucked endings that make sense. If you want a little clarification though, go to the IMDB boards on the movie. People are freakin' crazy there.
I haven't seen the movie yet but this really makes me want to. Also, i think trying to decipher Takashis ending is near impossible. Audition, Box, Ichi The Killer, and One Missed Call all have these fucked endings that make sense. If you want a little clarification though, go to the IMDB boards on the movie. People are freakin' crazy there.
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12:21PM on 10/25/2006

Awesome!

I disagree that the film should have been shot with Japanese dialogue, and I usually prefer that. But think about it--the main character was American and it makes sense that the prostitute he speaks with throughout the film would tell her stories in English. What we're seeing (and hearing) is her versions of these different stories so it makes sense that she and the other characters would speak English since most of them are characters in her stories and are speaking the way she's telling it.
I disagree that the film should have been shot with Japanese dialogue, and I usually prefer that. But think about it--the main character was American and it makes sense that the prostitute he speaks with throughout the film would tell her stories in English. What we're seeing (and hearing) is her versions of these different stories so it makes sense that she and the other characters would speak English since most of them are characters in her stories and are speaking the way she's telling it. Um, does that make sense?

I can't hold a candle to The Arrow, but I also reviewed this movie on Deadpit.com if anyone's interested.

Miike RULES!
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5:56PM on 10/23/2006

Ugh

I thought this was horrible. It was scary at all. It wasn't very good, in my humble opinion. The special effects were pretty weak too, except for the needles. That was a bit cringe worthy, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. I thought all of the acting was horrible, the script was lame and the "re-telling" of the "truth" was just pretty dumb and was forced to push the story forward. I agree it should have been shot in Japanese, as the Japanese actors struggle through the words and
I thought this was horrible. It was scary at all. It wasn't very good, in my humble opinion. The special effects were pretty weak too, except for the needles. That was a bit cringe worthy, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. I thought all of the acting was horrible, the script was lame and the "re-telling" of the "truth" was just pretty dumb and was forced to push the story forward. I agree it should have been shot in Japanese, as the Japanese actors struggle through the words and can't really act in that situation. Overall I was really disappointed and honestly feel a lot of people like this because liking Takeshi Miike is the cool thing to do these days. I'm sure this will be held against me, but I really don't find any of his work that great. There is some cool gore here and there, but overall his work lacks what I find very important - basic story for me to follow. Audition is his best, I think, and it's good, but vastly over-rated for what it is.
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11:17AM on 10/23/2006
I thought that this was the scariest episode of MOH, however it has some problems. For one, they should've shot it in Japanese, since a lot of the actresses couldn't speak English worth shit (except Youki Kudoh). It also doesn't have much closure, but that's to be expected from a Miike film. Overall I thought it was an excellent offering from the master, and it was way cool to see him team up with the writer of "Audition" again.
I thought that this was the scariest episode of MOH, however it has some problems. For one, they should've shot it in Japanese, since a lot of the actresses couldn't speak English worth shit (except Youki Kudoh). It also doesn't have much closure, but that's to be expected from a Miike film. Overall I thought it was an excellent offering from the master, and it was way cool to see him team up with the writer of "Audition" again.
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