SHARK SKIN MAN & PEACH HIP GIRL
THIS IS A WHACKED OUT ANIME COME TO LIFE! | Aug 26, 2003
.. it infuses moments of disturbing lucidity (such as shots in a hotel that has a “Twin Peaks” and “The Shining” lookie) with cartoony sound effects and curiously swung dialogue.
SSM&PHG is an unabashedly cool, high-energy action/comedy filled with extremely colorful characters, subtle, yet hilarious humour, and a wonderfully engaging story adapted from the Japanese Manga of the same name. Samehada (Tadanobu Asano of Ichi the Killer fame) is a gangster who has double-crossed his own gang and they’ve come for his head. No pinky will make up for the double cross he’s done. Samehada is actually on the run from a few of the killers when a girl, Toshiko (Shie Koshinata) who happens to be running away from her perverted uncle, accidentally crashes her car into that of his pursuers. Samehada teams up with Toshiko and together they go on the lam, fall in love, and dodge the assassins following Samehada, and an oddball hitman hired to return Toshiko to her creepy uncle. Both have someone they’re running from, and both need the other in order to escape. If it sounds crazy, it’s because it is. And that’s what makes it so wonderful.
The gangsters are all victims of hyper-fashion and each has their own special skill/obsession. One uses knives, one uses a bat, one’s a strong guy, one’s into action figures, one collects posters, and one just looks slick and plays Gameboy. All in all there are about 12 assassins hot on the tails of the two lovers. This is a whacked out anime film come to life.
You can’t go wrong with this film. The acting is excellent, the cinematography is beautiful, and the humor is dead on. I laughed my ass off. This is one of the rare movies I could watch again and again. Ishii only has two films, but he’s peaked my interest something fierce. I totally have to see Party 7 (his second film) as soon as possible!
Oh wow! I didn’t know it was originally a Manga.. it sorta plays like one. This is an intense, image-driven, power-pack of characters that are not quite playing with a full deck. It works though, as it infuses moments of disturbing lucidity (such as shots in a hotel that has a Twin Peaks and The Shining lookie) with cartoony sound effects and curiously swung dialogue. The gang displays the idiosyncratic remotes that each of us “normal” citizens possess, whether in the form of obsession/coveting objects, power, money, or people. ultimately, they are after pleasing their own hearts, at whatever cost, whatever sacrifice. You find yourself almost applauding these eccentric disasters as you figure out each of their roles. and even non-conformists need a club/partner.
Technically, mini-schism edits which chop the same characters of a previous frame in different postures cleverly display time passage +adds to the theatrical aspect. eager soundbeats and visuals complete the dissension between man, idealism and his pursuit of it. The evidence of retaining our purity, our ability to tweak and still view the Truth, is undeniably furnished in our modern cult-culture +our rift with Nature [illustrated best by Sawada’s (Terajima Susumu) morality + Mitsuru’s (Shingo Tsurumi) “fear” of water; also in the implied incest/reliance between Mitsuru +his sister and of course in Toshiko +her uncle].. for example, you know something is ethically wrong or defiantly deviant, yet you pursue it or do it anyway.. This is a fun and frisky tilt-a-whirl. the facial expressions alone will make you chortle; it’s like casting a dozen Johnny Depps! I totally agree with Chris on this one!!
Do yourself a favor and check this film out. You really are in for a treat. You special features junkies really won’t mind that it’s a bare bones disc. Most directors could only dream of making a crime caper/love story/road film that is as entertaining, involving, and flat out hilarious as this. Definitely one of our favorite discs all year!