Sukiyaki Western Django - Western Critical Reception

Western Critical Reception

When Sukiyaki Western Django premiered as part of the "Midnight Madness" program at the Toronto International Film Festival, it received mixed reviews. Cam Lindsay of Exclaim! magazine wrote admiringly:

"The fast-paced action is well staged on a set that borrows from both western and samurai traditions; Miike mixes both good old gunplay (a Gatling gun that’s housed in the original film’s iconic coffin) and martial arts swordplay, which intermingle cohesively until the last fight. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Miike’s western is his decision to use a Japanese cast to speak English. Supported by English subtitles, it’s a peculiar choice that at first feels like a novelty, only to fade into the film’s absorbing environment. Sukiyaki Western Django feels very much like a genuine western, and with it Miike demonstrates his mastery of working a genre film until it becomes a creation of his very own."

On the other end of the spectrum, Will Sloan of Inside Toronto wrote:

"This is a crazy, fast-paced spectacle of a movie, with some stunning action scenes and gorgeously colourful production design. The problem is, it’s an empty spectacle. Miike pays homage to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci, but forgets that those directors genuinely loved the kitschy pop culture they emulated instead of regarding it with smug superiority. Kill Bill was a comic book, yes, but Tarantino allowed his actors room to create characters the audience could care about, while Miike, by having his cast speak awkward English, is perversely trying to keep their characters two-dimensional and keep the audience distant...Ultimately, Sukiyaki Western Django is an exhausting experience. This is not a film you become involved in – it isn’t funny or engaging. Rather, it’s one that you’re supposed to watch with a cool, hip sense of ironic detachment, sitting in the audience and saying to yourself, “Aren’t I cool for laughing at this?” How could anyone enjoy such a self-conscious time at the movies?"

The film is currently rated at 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 52 reviews with the consensus as "Inventive and off-kilter, the newest feast from J-Horror director Takashi Miike is super-sensory, self-referential and somewhat excessive."

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