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Imprint (JAPAN 2006)

Director : Takashi Miike
Cast : Billy Drago, Youki Kudoh, Michie Ito, Toshie Negishi, Shimako Iwai.

Synopsis
An American journalist in 19th century Japan is hoping to find the love he left behind. His long search leads him to a dark island where the only sanctuary is a brothel. He ends up spending the night with an interesting woman where he learns that some things are better off left in the past.

Review
by Edward Tang

Miike is a crazy man, and he’s the only reason I even cared to turn to Showtime and view the goodness. But alas! Miike’s little flick called “Imprint” was originally withheld from Showtime for, get this, being too disturbing! Miike has made a career of being disturbing (and quite hilarious, touching, poetic…) and you could just go rent “Visitor Q” to see what I’m referring to. I really had to get my hands on this, because to one quote I read on the internet which called this the “most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen.” A frantic search through the alleys of despair, I FINALLY viewed the spectacle of Miike’s goodness and I can say it delivered in the overall violent/weird images but really doesn’t break any new ground if we are going towards Takashi Miike’s awesome resume including such classics as Ichi the Killer, Fudoh or Dead or Alive.

The STORY is pretty basic, you’ve got Billy Drago as an American who went to Japan and fell in love with this little piece called Komomo. They fell in love and did EVERYTHING together but Drago had to leave back to America. Fast-forward a few years later, back comes Mr. Drago with his dumbass facial expressions looking for his girl but she has vanished. Shacking up, he meets an unnamed blue-haired whore who basically tells him many versions of what happened to Komomo and her f*cked-up childhood of having parents who were once BROTHER and SISTER. Yep, and what follows is some good old torture, incest, murder, abortion, and revelations about the blue-haired girl’s sister who emerges in a very interesting fashion.

It keeps you a-watchin’ it. Miike gives the regulars with his touches, which can be good or bad depending who you are. Even though he isn’t doing anything that mind-boggling, it achieves more than what the usual Showtime flick would offer. I can’t say I was very interested in the story, but the factor of “what is going to happen next in terms of sickening violence” and for that I was more or less given it. I’d have to say that the visuals in this are more disturbing than 99% of the shit that Hollywood throws at the viewer which really shows the generic nature of what the horror film is. There always has to be a little bit of torture in a Miike film, and in here it’s still pretty nasty but nothing you can’t handle if you have gotten into this type of cinema before with a few needles to the eyelids and such. I’d say that if you’re “Pro-life” or “Anti-Abortion”, you may find this film to be little hazardous towards your cause because in pretty graphic detail, they showcase this act and just casually discard the aborted fetus into a lake and carry about their work.

I really could never take this thing seriously though which is probably why I didn’t really care for it in the long run. Billy Drago was HORRIBLE, the dialog poured from his mouth like venom into my ears as his face just annoyed me with every single look towards the guy. He TOTALLY butchered his performance, every shitty expression from his shitty attempt at looking angry or sad or happy was just plain grasping at straws that could act circles around this guy. The supporting cast was pretty shitty too, the blue-haired bitched and most of the Japanese cast just couldn’t sound menacing speaking English but if they went towards speaking Japanese, but you still would have Billy Drago in it basically killing any chance of me taking this thing seriously. That and a very corny little puppet that pops out of no-where and totally had me in stitches.

You gotta love Takashi Miike, the guy produces worthy stuff wherever he goes and even though this is filled with corn all over the place (Billy Drago = Shitty) it still has got worthy images and is very watchable, which is all it is trying for at the end of the day. 

Rating
Plot : 3/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 3/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- Miike-style abortion
- The REVEAL of the unnamed lady’s SISTER
- Komomo’s fun torture sequences involving needles
- Billy Drago’s horrible acting, and the final delicious meal.

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Imprint

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