Japanese bad boy Takashi Miike (Audition) storyboarded this crackling noir from an “extreme manga” by Hideo Yamamoto—extreme in its misogyny, sadism, and gore. Ichi (Nao Omori) likes to watch through windows while women are brutally raped; when collared by a rapist he bursts into tears, then uses a spring-loaded ax blade in his heel to chop the man in half vertically. After taking out a yakuza boss as part of a takeover scheme, Ichi is hunted by the dead capo's sadistic enforcer, Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), who cuts out his own tongue in remorse before embarking on a campaign of retribution that includes impaling a man upside down on hooks and scalding him with boiling water. The torture is strictly for kicks, which spoiled this for me, but less skittish viewers may enjoy this as a stylish and tightly wound genre piece. In Japanese with subtitles. R, 129 min.
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