Sukiyaki with some Heinz ketchup

Sukiyaji Western Django is another one of those “acquired taste” films. At first you’re like, “woah! tarantino,” then “oh poor little kid” and out of no where, “wow, that was a lot of blood.” To be honest, I was only attracted to the film at first due to Tarantino’s presence then kinda of fell off track with the bad accents and the rather ambiguous plot being some times comic and other times serious.

It is interesting how this movie incorporates some classic western film techniques yet stays in touch with its Japanese roots. I went ahead and saw the movie again, this time with a more open-minded perspective and thought the whole thing was great. The action was just as heavy as it needed it to be (no doubt Tarantino helped out a little there), the accents are more appreciated once this movie was screened in Japan with Japanese subtitles, and the actors are actually speaking English. I believe if the movie was full on serious the whole time then the amount of violence and other aspects would darken even more the storyline and be almost too much to see in one seating.

Another thing I loved about it which I mentioned above was its western basis with added Japanese culture. the cowboy hats, gun scenes, beat up towns, all play a role in giving it that good ol spaghetti western feel however, most characters wore kimonos, wrote in Japanese, and kept at least the back ground of each set Japanese influenced (for example the glowing sunset behind a distant mountain during Tarantino’s appearance.

In conclusion, I believe the film was beautifully shot especially that one scene that stands out above all the others where the unknown gunman jumps out of the window and unto his horse, I really wonder how they practiced that back in the day…

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5 thoughts on “Sukiyaki with some Heinz ketchup

  1. Admittedly, I really liked the visuals of the film. It is by far the best factor of the film, albeit just as heavily stylized as everything else in the film. But I agree, i quite liked the fusion of cultures here. It just takes a very odd twist on the spaghetti westerns, which were originally produced by and featured Italian actors, if I recall correctly. So it’s almost a spin on a spin of something else. Wow that sounded really convoluted. But anyways, yes the accents and attempts at comedy – though it worked several times – were extremely off putting, yes cringe-worthy, annoying to watch, and… Where was I? Oh yes, but I think all those features play off the fact that the film is to be seen as a parody and spoof of the genre, something not to be taken seriously(although that’s very difficult for me, I take everything seriously) and adds the sort of charm it has. Yes it’s ridiculous. Yes it’s over the top. But I’m pretty sure that was the intention of the film. Which it does, as it almost completely contrasts from conventional westerns.

  2. I would have to agree with you in that Sukiyaji Western Django is a film that only appeals to certain audiences. It started off very different from how the actual movie turned out to be. In terms of the plot, I felt like it was a constant rollercoaster ride- similar to what you had mentioned. At times the plot took an extremely serious route, but before you know it the spectators were laughing due to a more comedic scene. An excellent example of this is when we see one of the young men learning how to embrace the blade of a sword. His head ends up being severed yet he is clapping his hands above his head as a delayed response.
    The Japanese culture mixed with the Western made for an interesting move to say the least. The Japanese twist gives this western a different feel than that of the typical ones we are constantly seeing. The movie was beyond bloody. I would go even so far to say it is one of the bloodier western films I have watched.
    I must admit that the shot with the gunman jumping out of the window was spectacular and totally caught me off guard.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about how the Sukiyaki Django would be far too dark to watch if it were not amusing. Even as it was, I was cringing and looking away at many parts, and I don’t normally have issues with gory movies. This movie, as is characteristic with Westerns, didn’t have a ton of emotional depth, which is another reason why it’s watchable. I didn’t connect with any of the characters enough to be really disturbed by their deaths. It’s similar to A Clockwork Orange in these ways. When I posted about that film, I noted that I would find that movie too dark/disturbing to watch without the juxtaposition of more lighthearted music over horrible things happening. It is also similar in that it is hard to connect with the characters and have sympathy for them. This shows how genres and themes within in those genres are not static, but are constantly evolving and showing up in films that would not otherwise be comparable.

  4. I think it is both humorous and accurate that you compare these movies to an aquired taste. The plot is a little bit all over the place and is hard to follow. But I also agree with what you said about how the cultural aspects of each movie made it more interesting. I found that these differences made a similar movie in the same genre it’s own in a unique way. The entire atmosphere of each movie was completely it’s own — the costumes, the setting, the sound and especially the sound effects. Although gun shots were a huge part of sound in both movies.

  5. I have to agree with you on this one. This movie is extremely an acquired taste its like wasabi. I love all kinds of movies and I wasn’t really feeling this one. The images were great, the shots were fantastic but I couldn’t relate or understand . The humor was quite all over the place but I really enjoyed the scene when some guy had a sword lodged into his brain and was clapping his hands above it to try to stop the sword. I found that scene oddly hilarious and very unique. although this film is an acquired taste I think it could go down in the annals of cult film history. I also have to agree that the inclusion of Tarantino despite his odd acting added to the value of the film because of his popularity. On a side note I felt like all the films were interconnected. Tarantino was in the Japanese version of Django, and Franco Nero appeared in Django Unchained. Go Django Go!

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