A remake of a true classic from 1962, Takashi Miike’s Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai doesn’t quite match the visceral power of the original, but it’s certainly an audacious task for a filmmaker like Miike, who’s best known for resplendent gore and bloodshed. Ironically, the worst that can be said about his remake is that it’s almost too safe and quiet. Even the fight scenes feel like pre-season action. It was apparently common for independent samurai to find pity from other warriors by threatening ritual suicide, but the House of Iyi is ready for the scam, and the results aren’t pretty. Fast-forward a number of years, and another samurai arrives with a surprisingly similar tale. Hara-Kiri certainly has the look and feel of an epic, yet it also manages to be an endearing tribute to an essential film while adding its own wrinkles.
Director: Takashi Miike
Producer: Toshiaki Nakazawa and Jeremy Thomas
Cast: Ebizo Ichikawa, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Naoto Takenaka, Munetaka Aoki, Hirofumi Arai, Kazuki Namioka, Yoshihisa Amano, Takehiro Hira, Ippei Takahashi, Koji Yakusho, Takashi Sasano, Ayumu Saito, Baijaku Nakamura and Goro Daimon