There was a time that the name of Miike had been unheard before these ears and his films unseen before these eyes. But yeah, that moment of enlightenment came upon me and I was awoken.
The opening sequence of Dead or Alive was just mind blowing and, while the rest of the film was less ground breaking, there was enough sensationalism and gratuity to keep me hooked. The fact that this was a double bill, with its sequel following right after which was equally gratuitous and convention breaking, turned me into a fan.
What followed was Audition and Ichi the Killer, both sources of a lot of psychic damage but still amazing films. Each film festival I usually hunt out the Miike film before any other and am still impressed by his offerings in Gozu and Izo.
So when an opportunity presents itself to review a Miike film, naturally my participation was a necessity. Little did I realise that it was some of his prodigious back catalogue and, well, nostalgia just isn’t what it use to be.
It seems that given the workaholic that Miike is, there exists less an overall vision in his earlier films than a whole lot of really cool stuff he wants to put in, sinewed with the occasional taboo breaking sex and/or violence scene for the punters tied together with a token plot that doesn’t necessarily need to go anywhere; in fact its probably better for all involved if it doesn’t.
That’s not to say the plot doesn’t exist – if anything, there is more plot here than say, Izo but there is no coherency and even less a point. Thematically there’s the ‘new becoming the old’ we see in his every other film. This is nice in the sense of establishing some context, but perhaps I have just become too jaded with kids and their potential for being vicious and dangerous little things for it to be too shocking anymore.
Really Fudoh is for completionist Miike fans or those who have yet to come across the extensive filmography of this somewhat insane director. The man had to learn his craft somehow and in Fudoh there is a hint of the genius that is obvious in some of his later films.