Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
As a connoisseur of Asian cinema I have to say that Japanese films are some of the most bizarre and “unique” of the Asian countries for it’s film making styles. It has long been known for it’s hyper violence, absurd sexual situations and bizarre gonzoesque style of film making. Leading the pack as the Quentin Tarantino of Japan is Takashi Miike, a director with a massive variety of films under his belt, and one of the most entertaining Japanese direction out there (ironically enough, he has worked with Tarantino behind the scenes with Hostel, and several other small projects). Miike is most known for his unique take on violent crime dramas, and probably most notably for the insane Ichi the Killer, a movie that is pretty much a niche film for gonzo arthouse extremist fans. Still, I look forward to the man’s next movies, because no matter how strange and bizarre they are, he always impresses.
The old “seven ways from Kevin Bacon” trick is at play with First Love, as a hapless young boxer by the name of Leo (Masataka Kubota) is in for the night of his life after he “rescues” a prostitute named Yuri (Sakurako Konishi) from a police officer. You see, Yuri is the center of a Yakuza drug scandal, having run off from her pimp. Several other sub plots are laid simultaneously, as Yuri’s pimp is killed by one of his own Yakuza members, the entire Yakuza cell is up in arms about it, and are looking for Yuri who might have knowledge of the drugs that this Yakuza member was murdered for. Suddenly Leo is in for the night of his life, as all he wants to do is protect Yuri from her demons (poor girl is suffering cocaine withdrawals) and get her through the night alive, as he supposedly only has days left to live after learning that day he has a brain tumor.
Yakuza, dirty cops, prostitutes, and rival gangs all lead to one bloody end as Leo ducks, dives, dodges, ducks some more and runs to keep himself and Yuri’s heads on their shoulders. The film is actually one of Takashi Miike’s tamer ones, as I was truly expecting a bloodbath of epic proportions. Instead the film plays out at a much more methodical pace, introducing us to the 4-5 different subplots that are all being woven together. But, don’t fear, the final 30 minutes is full of severed limbs, gunshot wounds, and more CGI blood splatter than you can shake a stick at.
At the end of the day, First Love is not one of Takashi Miike’s best films. It isn’t nearly as dark as it should be, and not nearly as humorous as it tries to be. The first 30 minutes or so are actually rather dull, and it’s not until the second act when everything starts coming together that the film picks up the pace. The last 1/3rd of the movie is worth the price of admission alone though, and I really kind of appreciated that the overall theme of the film seemed to focus on overcoming your demons instead of just fading into nothingness like some of Miike’s films do. Basically, a middle of the roar Miike film that isn’t his most epic, but is still very entertaining.
Not Rated by the MPAA
• Teaser Trailer
I definitely had a good time with First Love. It’s a tongue in cheek thriller with some heavy Takashi Miike violence thrown in for good measure, and definitely one of his less bizarre films (which alone tells you how out there the film maker is). I mean, we have a ghost/hallucination that dances about in white tighty’s throughout the film and it’s considered completely normal! While the film isn’t as bloody as some of his others, this love story still has plenty of gore, but most of it seems to really be played off for laughs more than to be creepy. The audio and video are both well done in this release, but is accompanied by the typical lack of extras on the disc. Takashi Miike fans should check it out.
Starring: Becky, Mami Fujioka, Sakurako Konishi, Masataka Kubota, Takahiro Miura, Jun Murakami, Nao Ohmori
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Written by: Masa Nakamura
Aspect Ratio: 2.39::1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1, English, Japanese DD 2.0
Studio: Well Go USA
Runtime: 108 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 11th, 2020
Recommendation: Takashi Miike Fans Should Check It Out