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Takashi Miike Film Lines Up Graphic-Novel Adaptation 'Lesson Of The Evil,' Wants To Have It Ready For Venice

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by Charlie Schmidlin
March 7, 2012 2:46 PM
2 Comments
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Takashi Miike Lesson Of The Evil

Curiously missing from many top ten lists of last year was Takashi Miike's “13 Assassins,” his sweeping ode to the samurai epic with enough stunning imagery and action to match its thematically rich story. The prolific director is occasionally known for tossing off films with a whiff of exercise and effort (read: “Ninja Kids!!!”), but that film displayed such mastery behind the camera, including a final 45-minute battle of incredible geography and flow, that one couldn't help but be blown away. Now, Punch Drunk Critics has dug up news of his latest project, an adaptation of the best-selling graphic novel “Aku No Kyoten” ("Lesson of the Evil"), and those who are new to Miike's wonderfully diverse filmography are sure to be surprised while his other fans crack a giant grin.

The adaptation, set to shoot in April this year, marks the reunion between actor Hideaki Ito and Miike, last seen working together in the fun-but-flawed “Sukiyaki Western Django.” In the new film, Ito plays Hasumi Seiji, a popular high school teacher flawed by psychopathic tendencies, who notices a rise in bullying and bad behavior among the student body. Naturally, he decides the best punishment for the offenders would be to kill them all, most likely in increasingly horrible ways not fully explored in “Ichi the Killer.”

Regardless of the subject matter in Miike's films, there is always a delightful mix of black humor and visual insanity coursing through his work, and “Lesson of the Evil” sounds like a prime playground for those elements. The film is aiming for a November release in Japan after a premiere at the August Venice International Film Fest, and considering Miike will probably shoot two or three films on the side during that gap, that's an easily obtainable goal for the director.

Such quality distributors as Magnet Releasing (who distributed “13 Assassins”) and Alamo Drafthouse were created specifically for this sort of fare, so those stateside can probably expect a VOD/limited theatrical run early next year, which is about par for Miike's films these days.

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2 Comments

  • Gary Convex | March 7, 2012 5:36 PMReply

    Other than the production design, I will never understand all the love for 13 Assassins. It's a dull story without a single interesting character, poorly paced, lazily directed (count the number of interior scenes where all Miike can come up with for camera placement is to move it left-right or right-left on a low tracking shot), badly edited (see specifically the scene in the middle when they come down from the mountain to enter the town - there is a shot where they're on foot, then a shot of them on horseback, then a shot of them on foot again in a location that makes no sense spatially). Even the premise of the movie makes no sense: why in order to assassinate a single man would wait until he's accompanied by an entire army to attack him? Seriously, that was the plan?

    But all that aside the thing that really pissed me off about the movie was that the filmmakers completely ignored the whole point of every samurai movie - that strength of character not strength of sword is what makes a warrior. Instead it ends with **SPOILER** the lone remaining samurai deciding he's not going to be a samurai anymore because times done changed or some shit. YOU CAN'T GIVE UP. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF BEING A SAMURAI!! And why ronin movies are so inherently tragic and badass .... Bullshit, I tell you.

  • Travis Hopson | March 7, 2012 3:25 PMReply

    Thanks for the mention, gang. Love the site!

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