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Ghost Dog - The Way Of The Samurai [DVD]
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Killer-for-hire Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) lives his life by the ancient Samurai code Hagakure. When his sometime employer Louie (John Tormey) hires him to assassinate gangster Handsome Frank - at the behest of Mafia don Ray Vargo (Henry Silva) - Ghost Dog carries out the job. However, when Vargo discovers that there was a witness to the killing, he orders the reluctant Louie to have Ghost Dog taken out. After Vargo's men ransack his home and slaughter his beloved pigeons, Ghost Dog vows to revenge himself on the crime bosses in true Samurai fashion.
Forest Whitaker makes an unlikely modern samurai with his laser-sighted pistols, shabby street clothes, and oddly graceful gait--but then Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is an unusual film. Quirky, contemplative and at times absurd, it is just the kind of offbeat vision we have come to expect from the fiercely independent Jim Jarmusch (Stranger than Paradise, Dead Man). Whitaker is Ghost Dog, a mysterious New York hit man who lives simply on a tenement rooftop and follows a code of behaviour outlined in : Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai (passages of this book are interspersed throughout the film). When the local mob marks him for death in a complicated code of Mafiosi-style honour, Ghost Dog sends a cryptic message to his foes. "That's poetry. The poetry of war", remarks mobster Henry Silva, with sudden respect upon reading the verse. He could be describing the ethereal beauty of Jarmusch's vision, full of wonderful imagery (a night drive across town seems to float in time) and off-centre humour. Though it briefly stalls in a series of assassinations (Jarmusch is no action director), it settles back into character-driven drama in a quietly epic showdown, equal parts samurai adventure, spaghetti western and existential crime movie. The film is likely too unconventional and offbeat for general audiences, but cult-movie buffs and Jarmusch fans will appreciate his idiosyncratic vision. He finds a strange sense of honour in the clash of Old World traditions, and salutes his heroes with a skewed but sincere respect. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
People who come on here after seeing Tom Cruise's Last Samurai, Zatoitchi and 1 or 2 of Kurosawa works need to a) see more Kurosawa films, look into his early works and maybe try one of his films that aren't period - for instance, Scandal or Red Beard and b) Actually explore true Samurai cinema, researching both chambara and Jidaigeki films. A good start would be the Rebel Samurai trilogy and then explore deeper for films like Three Outlaw Samurai
Please don't be put off this film just because of the view people that consider themselves cultured and film savvy enough to express this films flaws based on trivial annoyances - who cares that homing pigeons dont fly from two points... who cares that bad guys take less bullets to die than the good guys... This film is an action fantasy and thus you must suspend your beliefs and grip of reality - just like you would with Die Hard etc
Beginning with casting Forest Whitaker as the inner city Samurai, , who doesn't exactly sport a Bruce Lee physique, OBVIOUSLY this movie was never meant to be taken literally! In fact, Jarmusch may be the ONLY director who dares, and can pull off, a film that mixes hip-hop street culture with Mafioso wise guys, sprinkle it with quotes from The Book of the Samurai by Hagakure and not just "get away with it" but make it all work!
If you like Jim Jarmusch films then you'll love GHOST DOG. If you've never seen one of his flicks then go easy on yourself ... and take a peek at his 1991 film, NIGHT ON EARTH. If nothing else, you'll have a chance to see Winona Ryder in a wonderful acting role before she became, err, Winona Ryder. And let's not forget the other greats such as Gena Rowlands, Béatrice Dalle, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and that terrific MOUTH (and body) Rosie Perez who made NIGHT ON EARTH what it is. How can you resist?
In GHOST DOG, Whittaker is a gentle pigeon raising philosopher who is repected and feared in his 'hood. By night, he does "special" hits for the Mafia because as any good Samurai, he is loyal to one of the aging lieutenants who saved his life when Whittaker was a youth. The man he does contracts for is more like a character out of the ANALYZE THIS!Read more ›
The film feels like a cross between Melville's 'Le Samurai', Boorman's 'Point Blank' & Kitano's 'Sonatine'. It continues the transcedental mediations on death found in 'Dead Man'- as with that film it has a great score- by Wu-Tang man, RZA (along with the Wu-related work on 'Black & White', it is clear that their best work since Ghostface Killah's 'Ironman' is in soundtracks (exception-'Nigga Please' by ODB)).
There are some great moments of humour- the racist mob guy who digs Flavour Flav (Public Enemy), the reprisal of Gary Farmer as a Native -American and his catchphrase "stupid f***ing white man" (big influence on Michael Moore's book?), the old man being mugged or the bullet relations between Ghost Dog & Louie. And the subtitled mis/understandings are the best this side of 'Annie Hall'. The ice cream salesman (Roger from ER) and the young girl show the charming fraternal side to Ghost Dog's world; while Henry Silva and Victor Argo are among the Mafioso- or Jarmusch's deconstruction of. A canny reference to 'Rashomon' is present throughout the film, it's also a little like 'Leon'- there's also a boat on a roof- which is reminsicent of the ship in the tree in Herzog's 'Aguire,Wrath of God'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent performances and plot.....quirky gangster characters. Forest Whitaker brilliant.Published 3 days ago by Al Dente
Here we have a film with a nonsensical plot, an out of condition, tubby, very bored looking supposed samurai hitman lead (Forest Whittaker), made for what looks like 50 p; a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by still searching
Best film ever...on so many levels. Music is stunning. Jamusch rif on language, meaning and understanding runs to 3 langauges in one scene. FW is the business. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr. Mrs. Lester
I had the good fortune to see Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai on Film4, and it made a massive impression upon me and blew me away. Read morePublished 7 months ago by skimmity
Amazing film. Just had to buy it so I can watch it over and over again.Published 7 months ago by Amanda J Hemers
This was a gift for a relative so unable to give an honest opinion about the book but everything regarding the purchase was first class for which I thank you very much. Read morePublished 7 months ago by bwanamukubwa