Miike Takashi's ICHI THE KILLER Will Get A Remastered And Revived Re-Release

One needn't look too far in director Miike Takashi's career to find any number of titles that near perfectly illustrate the warped, mindbending judo that embodies his craft. I haven't seen all of his movies but the ones I have are all definitely thrilling classics in their own right - some of which are real envelope pushers.

Just shy of the halfway point of his career by 2001, an adaptation of Yamamoto Hideo's seinen manga, Ichi The Killer, became one of those titles. Starring Omori Nao in the title role opposite Asano Tadanobu, it's the twisted tale of psychological and emotional tumult and reprieve between the intersecting lives of a pent-up, psychologically-scarred martial artist - armed with a kill switch and a fixed blade on his left foot - who is manipulated into assassinating Yakuza crime figures, and the sadomaschist Yakuza enforcer looking for him. Tanno Masato directed the film's 2003 prequel, Ichi-1 with Omori reprising.

The film drew world-class controversy surrounding its treatment of cinematic violence and its open-ended subliminal messaging toward audiences, ultimately ensuing its cult status whilst banned from public screening in three countries between Europe and Asia. Apart from this, not only is the film still admired by fans to date, it is also the current subject of a remastered and refurbished forthcoming re-release courtesy of Emperor Motion Pictures, one of the film's original co-producers who have just acquired international sales rights ahead of Cannes.

per Variety:
“Miike is prolific, but ‘Ichi the Killer’ stands out as something special,” says EMP’s head of international sales May Yip. “Unfortunately, the materials were in very poor condition as it was shot in Beta and only later converted to 35mm. So, given that there was enduring interest and licenses expiring, we took the decision to restore it. The result will be better, even gorier.”
Restoration of the film was handled by L’Immagine Rittrovata Asia, the Hong Kong offices of Davide Pozzi's Bologna, Italy-based film restoration lab which opened to a lucrative streak of restoring Asian film in the wake of bolstering online video demand.

Proximity of the film's re-release is unclear while Miike himself gears up to take the floor at Cannes for his fifth time with one of several recently released manga adaptations, Blade Of The Immortal. August will see the Japan theatrical release of JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable - Chapter 1. Omori will appear later this year in Kitano Takeshi's Yakuza crime threequel, Outrage: Final Chapter.


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