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The City of Lost Souls (2000)

Cast: Teah, Teah, Michelle Reis, more...
Director: Takashi Miike, Takashi Miike
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Chimera
Genre: Action, Comedies, Foreign, Black Comedy, Japan, Adventure, Screwball, Crime, Gangsters, Yakuza
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

The fantastically prolific Takashi Miike directs this dizzyingly stylish thriller -- one of four in the year 2000 alone -- about love, cocaine, and exile. In the film's near-wordless opening, half-Japanese Brazil Mario (Teah) wipes out a room full of his fellow criminals in a bar in Sao Paolo and then strips naked in the dust storm outside. Mario is next seen one year later rescuing his Chinese girlfriend, Kei (Michelle Reis), from being deported. The event, which involved the hijacking of a helicopter, a gun fight amid the Joshua trees of the vast Japanese desert (!), and a harrowing 80-foot leap into Tokyo's Shinjuku district, instantly becomes the stuff of legend among Japan's large and beleaguered foreign population. Desperately wanting to get out of the country, Mario and Kei get entangled with a coke deal that goes sour between Mr. Ko (Mitsuhiro Oikawa), an effete though deadly Chinese mobster with unwholesome designs on Kei, and Fushimi (Koji Kikkawa), a psychotic yakuza who brutally kidnaps a blind orphan for his own terrible ends. Kung-fu cockfights, murderous Ping-Pong matches, and religious miracles ensue. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

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GreenCine Member Reviews

Two reasons by starbuck July 2, 2004 - 8:12 PM PDT
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
1. Claymation Kung-Fu cock fight
2. Ping pong match to the death

Watch this movie.

Very cool Yakuza movie riff from Takashi Miike by ColonelKong May 15, 2003 - 7:59 AM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Even though Miike is working in more conventional (by his standards!) territory than the other Miike films I've seen, City of Lost Souls (I prefer the title Hazard City) is still insanely watchable and stylish, and Miike, as always, proves himself to be a master of subverting audience expectations.

Even though Hazard City is somewhat tamer than the other Yakuza movies from Miike that I've seen, it's still a very fun, aggressively oddball action movie that sometimes has kind of an exaggerated, live-action cartoon feel to it.

The extras on the DVD include a disappointingly short making-of featurette with documentary footage of Miike directing (I really wanted more than 5 minutes) and a fun trivia game that uses clips from the movie (do not play it before seeing the movie!).

A Punk Rock United Nations of Hoodlums by Signalstation January 5, 2003 - 10:14 AM PST
11 out of 13 members found this review helpful

Watching Takashi Miike's gangster films is like listening to a friend's punk rock band that never plans on being recorded, or performing for anyone, so they make fast loud songs about D&D characters or diseases found by randomly opening encyclopedias while setting off illegal fireworks left over from the New Year.

Basically, a film like this is worth watching for the scenes where Miike gets bored with what he's doing and cuts loose. The film is messy, fun cultural train wreck where you'll hear Portuguese, Cantonese, Japanese, Russian and at least one Jamaican while journeying through Japan's underworld.

I read a quote from Miike recently that I can only paraphrase. Basically, Japanese movie sales are dropping and Miike said he finds it liberating because if no one is coming, directors can make any kind of movie they want!

So while you're doing your gangster film, why not make it about Brazilians ripping off both the Yakuza and Chinese gangs in Japan? Why not include some scenes of cockfighting with computer-generated roosters doing kung-fu, Matrix-style? Why not have a gang boss who prefers ping pong to gun play?

Why not worry a little less tonight about traditional story structure and character development and just let the chaos wash over you?

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.98)
237 Votes
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