Kill! [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1968]

Kihachi Okamoto's Kiru (aka Kill!) stands among the major Japanese samurai films of the 1960s as a satire that delivers equal parts bloody swordplay and jet-black comedy, and The Criterion Collection have finally given it the North American video release it richly deserves with this DVD. Kill! has been transferred to disc in letterboxed format at the widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and the image has also been enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. Rokuro Nishigaki's camerawork, dominated by bold Cinemascope framings and stark images of blood and swirling dust, has been given the care it deserves, with the robust bit rate giving the broad range of gray hues and the richly detailed compositions their due -- this is a simply great-looking disc. It sounds good too; the original monophonic audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and sounds sharp and clear throughout. The dialogue is in Japanese, with optional English subtitles that are clear and easy to read. By Criterion's standards, this release is a bit short on extras; the only bonus items are two trailers and a fine liner essay from Howard Hampton. But anyone who appreciates classic Japanese genre cinema will want to see this overlooked classic, and Criterion's release allows the film to look every bit as good as it deserves.
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Overview

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Original theatrical trailer and teaser
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • A new essay by film and culture critic Howard Hampton

Synopsis

Kiru
A pair of luckless would-be warriors find themselves caught in the middle of a skirmish between rival gangsters in this darkly comic samurai film. Tabata (Etsushi Takahashi) and Genta (Tatsuya Nakadai) are two hungry ronin who meet in a windswept town which has fallen so deeply upon hard times that the proprietor of the only restaurant has committed suicide in her own dining room. Tabata is a former farmer who dreams of living the exciting life of a samurai, while Genta tried to give up the violent and nomadic life of a swordsman but hasn't had much luck finding other work. The village is dominated by a clan of yakuza who are caught up in a power struggle, and as the two factions split off and declare war on one another, the two new friends find themselves hired by differing sides -- Tabata as a samurai, Genta as a messenger. However, one of Tabata's first assignments is to assassinate Genta, even as his new pal offers him helpful hints on his newly adopted trade. Kiru (aka Kill!) was written and directed by Kihachi Okamoto, one of Toho's leading action directors during the 1960s, who earned a reputation for his strong but cynical perspective on the violence of men. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Hideyo Amamoto
  • Image coming soon
    Yuriko Hoshi - Chino
  • Shigeru Koyama
    Shigeru Koyama - Ayuzawa
  • Akira Kubo
    Akira Kubo
  • Tatsuya Nakadai
    Tatsuya Nakadai - Genta
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