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  • Izo [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Izo [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Product details

  • Actors: Kazuya Nakayama, Kaori Momoi, Ryûhei Matsuda, Ryôsuke Miki, Yûya Uchida
  • Directors: Takashi Miike
  • Writers: Shigenori Takechi
  • Producers: Fujio Matsushima, Kazuyoshi Okuyama, Taizô Fukumaki
  • Format: Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Tokyo Shock
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Oct. 2005
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000AC7P3S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,541 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Critic Ali Insane on 20 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In feudal Japan Izo is tortured to death by the establishment's guards; his vengeful spirit seeks retribution against those responsible in Miike's time-travelling samurai saga. Izo slaughters everybody he comes across as he leaps from one time zone to another on a quest to rid the world of rules and rulers. The content is totally savage throughout; Izo even has intercourse with his own mother before slicing her in two and moving on remorselessly to find his next victim for punishment. The closer Izo gets to achieving his goal the more his spirit transcends into a demon figure. Can anybody stop the masacre before the world is dead with only the angry demon Izo remaining?

Along the way he encounters every major player within the Japanese film industry including stars Sonny Chiba, "Beat" Takeshi Kintano, Ryuhei Matsuda and even Bob Sapp the wrestler. All of which couldn't wait to play a cameo in Miike's blockbuster. The most noted cameo though comes from renowned Japanese folk singer Kazuki Tomokawa who provides an amazing soundtrack to the feature which is, by far, the stand alone highlight; listening to this man belt out his philosophical poems is pure gold.

The additional disc in the two-disc set is loaded with extras, including a very humourous behind the scenes footage showing team Miike and the star studded cast fooling around on set. An unique flick, of sorts, but not one of Miike's best by a long shot - worth watching if your a big fan.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Pure Brilliance 4 Aug. 2010
By OAO - Published on
Format: DVD
Some reviewers have said that Izo is merely a senseless bloodbath. Nothing could be further from the case.

Izo was an assassin on the losing side of a war; he was crucified after its completion. His spirit then seeks out revenge against the universe itself.

The rulers - the bishop, the scholar, the general, and so on - which he seeks to destroy should not be seen as mere individuals. They are prototypes, representatives of the elements of the system of control afflicting humanity from time immemorial. They also govern the cosmos' karmic order; Izo's revenge is against the fundamental deceit underlying it.

At first, Izo's story is purely one of revenge; over time, it takes on an additional quality - a search the reason of his existence. His enemies can't understand this pursuit. It is false to say that Izo kills without discrimination - in fact, attentive viewers become sympathetic to Izo as the plot continues, as we see how each kill anguishes his soul. He only kills those who stand in the way of his quest or who embody society's deceitful structure, such as the couple in the marriage ceremony. The students in class, who are learning the truth, are left alone despite Izo's recalling of Hanpeita's admonition to become a killing machine. Quietly eating peasants are untouched.

This movie is, I think, Miike's greatest film. It would help to brush up on Japanese culture before viewing - to understand the notion of karma and some symbolism (a spinner, for example, is a sign of fate). The effort will be well spent.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Miike's masterpiece 11 Feb. 2008
By ac - Published on
Format: DVD
It's hard to be familiar with the movies of Takashi Miike. Despite seeing the majority of his films released in America (and even a few that have yet to be released here), it's hard not to feel like I've lost something in translation. I can appreciate the humor, the violence, the plotlines, etc but there are usually parts that confuse me, and his movies typically require repeated watchings. It's not that I'm particularly new to the films he creates or the films of Japanese directors in general ("Tetsuo" creator Tsukamoto is probably my favorite director); the point I'm trying to illustrate is that you have to WANT to appreciate his films. You have to work hard sometimes to get into what he's doing, because he often throws conventional plot points, "hooks" that grab you, and structure out the window. Even his most fairly straightforward films take many detours into the bizarre (see the tank randomly showing up in "Family" or the rocket launcher that comes out on nowhere in at least two of his films!)...

So, it's not surprising that this is one of the lesser-recieved of Miike's works. Using the "hook" of a sword fighting epic initially gets people interested in this film, but seeing no conventional plot or point to what is happening throws people off. This confuses me -- though I definitely didn't grasp everything upon the first viewing of this, I was still instantly amazed at what Miike has set up here: A journey through one man's tortured soul. Even if you don't feel like you understand everything that's happening, you still realize this film is genius -- maybe you just haven't figured out why yet.

Upon repeated viewings, however, I figured out why. As another reviewer mentioned, you have to kind of look in between the lines. This film is powerful, epic, emotional, and even darkly comedic. On the surface, this film is basically just a journey through someone's afterlife. However, beyond that, the film pours on flashy imagery, ultraviolence, and heavy emotion to an almost suffocating degree. In a lot of ways, this film reminds me of "El Topo" -- a movie that is disguised as a genre effort (El Topo being a Western, this being a samurai swordfighting film) that just uses the basic genre outlines and explores topics deeper than have ever been covered in the genre before.

I think those who overlook this film simply were expecting a straightforward swordfighting movie, which this film clearly isn't. It's way better than that, and it's honestly probably the best film to come out in the last decade. Don't write this off after one viewing, it REQUIRES repeated viewings. A masterpiece.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Worth more than 1 viewing 3 Nov. 2006
By terry330 - Published on
Miike is certainly not a conventional filmmaker and this may be his most unconvetional film. That doesn't make it bad(far from it), nihlism & self destruction are the main themes played out in an almost acid trip of a movie.

For some reason it reminds me of The Last Temptaion of Christ splattered in blood, begging for mercy and asking the ultimate truth of human suffering.(with some really great cameos)

Only for true Miike fans.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
takes cinematic bodycount to a whole new level 3 Aug. 2005
By Wux Iapan - Published on
A simple idea: a man is being killed somewhen far in the past but his soul turns into a wandering spirit that is drifting throught it's own inner hell. In my opinion the conclusion could be understood purely psychological: if you hate the world the world will hate you because your hate will be understood and answered the same way, like it or not.

Philosophical in a way, this movie is infinitly uncompromising. Imagine Kill Bill, remove the "Assasin squad" and replace it with all sorts of historical enemies, ranging from samurai spirits to demon killers to demons to Yakuzas to SWAT teams to school kids to female teachers to infernal whores to a wedding banquet to your own mother... the list goes on and there's more blood and guts here than in Ichi the killer, a lot more actually. The gods are dressed like business men, commanding all those historical enemies to stop Izo from crushing them.

Izo hates everything that exists and so does everything that exists hate Izo, but nothing 'really' exists. Izo is a wandering soul that has no soul, he is the "infinite absurdity". This movie is the most consequent version of the classic 'never ending hell' tale. Long after Izo has begun killing everyone standing in his way, he and the audience comes to realize that there is no way, there is no goal, there is only the neverending slaughter and vengeance of everything, hell is repetition with no end, violence leads to more violence. Izo somehow symbolizes the capacity of violence, so it's only logic he can't die. As long as violence comes his way in the guise of his attackers, he continues to exist. Yeah, it's that simple and the formula isn't going to change untill the very end of the movie.

There's hardly a minute without arterial sprays, hardly a character that is not being slaughtered sooner or later, no matter who it is: buddha, lovers, demons, cops, kids... sometimes it's almost funny (the wedding banquet...). I believe there are certain similiarties to Miike's "Graveyard of honor" in which a yakuza is going to battle against the rest of the world. To me, both characters could be understood as an allegory to social behaviour and historical events.

The furthermore sadistic aspect of the movie is that Izo cannot die but is suffering just as much as his victims, violence goes where violence comes from. Sometimes Izo is surrounded by a dozen enemies, he's fighting one toe-to-toe while the others keep stabbing their knives, swords and stuff into Izo's bleeding body that therefore is covered in blood with countless injuries throughout the whole film, every attack is a painful experience for Izo and is being responded with more violence. Repeat that around a thousand times and yeah, that's pretty much what this movie is all about on screen. It's like playing GTA with the "everybody's attacking you"-cheat... It all begins with Izo's execution at the beginning of the movie which has to be one of the goriest and most painful in film history.

If you truly hate somebody and need to release some mental tension, that is the movie for you. It's an endless and pretty mindless killing spree, the dialogues are beautiful, visuals as well, it's Takashi Miike, it's very brutal, and, frankly, very very boring. Sure, every sword battle is skillfully shot as if Miike has never done anything else but this sort of films. Nevertheless, it's for the first time I remember that I was watching the last 20 minutes in spooling speed. I knew these 20 minutes would show nothing else but another 100 (at minimum) sword executions and I was right but didn't want to miss the ending. It's a pretty long movie but it seems even longer reagarding it's repetive nature and background message that should be clear to anyone around 4000 deaths before the final conclusion. At the end, thank god, it all becomes symbolic when Izo is standing on a bizar platform that is part of the 'symbol of neverending infinity', realizing, that for deliverance, there has to be another way to go than hate and vengeance. One could sense a political statement here but regarding the fact that with AUDITITION there was absolutly no social commentary intended by neither the director nor the screen writer, IZO could as well be seen as just another killer freak show for pure sick entertainment.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I am a spirit seeking vengeance 18 Nov. 2007
By C. Christopher Blackshere - Published on
Format: DVD
Wow, another demented head trip by Miike. I'm not exactly sure what I just watched, but I know it was great.
You've got the fierce warrior Izo, who is brutally murdered and then his soul seeks some closure. Or rest. But his spirit is denied at the gates of both heaven and hell. So the soul wanders aimlessly, trapped within himself, feeling eternally restless and bitter. He then embarks on a ruthless rampage of death, destruction, and mayhem that is visually spectacular.
The plot linear structure is intentionally wavering and sporadic, maybe in an attempt to make you also feel lost. There are some amazing action sequences that reminded me of Matrix, Kill Bill, and Ichi the Killer. With this exploration of life after death comes a strong level of surrealism portrayed, which I thought was imaginative and entertaining. I also loved the showdown between Izo and big Bob Sapp, way too cool.
This film is generous with the blood and the swordplay, but it's abstract notions and problems with continuity might not appeal to many viewers. Oh well, may your soul burn in eternal damnation, haha.
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