There are some filmmakers who have been around forever and only seem to have a handful of features under their belt. On the other hand, there are some who release features back to back, in rapid succession. Then, in a league of his own, there is Takashi Miike. With over one hundred films created and released since 1991, the master of the bizarre is back with his latest, First Love.
A corrupt cop and a low-level Yakuza have a plan to get rich by ripping off a local drug dealer. Things do not go according to plan, however, and a violent war between rival gangs ensues, leaving a lonely, terminally ill boxer and a drug addicted call-girl right in the middle of it all.
Takashi Miike is a beast of a director; The man’s first film was released in 1991 and he has created over one hundred more since then. He is perhaps most known for flicks like Ichi the Killer and Audition, but he has clearly presented film fans with so much more over the years.
Even with all of these movies in this talented director’s filmography, I am ashamed to say that I’ve only ever watched about four or five. My inexperience in all things Miike does not leave me ignorant, however. When the opportunity to watch and review his latest film arose, I did not hesitate to jump at the chance.
I knew nothing of the plot going into First Love. This is actually how I prefer to head into most of my movie-watching experiences these days. The less I know, the better.
Luckily for me, this technique, for lack of a better term, once again paid off, as First Love is a very entertaining film from start to finish.
As First Love‘s 109 minutes pass by, we are introduced to a whole slew of characters, most with their own unique character traits. It does get confusing at times, mainly during the more action-heavy scenes, who is on whose side, but it is extremely easy to identify the main players when need be.
The entire cast does a tremendous job at portraying their characters. Everyone from Masataka Kubota, as orphaned boxer Leo, and Becky (born as Rebecca Eri Rabone), as the violently vengeful Julie, to Shôta Sometani, the in-over-his-head lowly gangster, Kase, and Sakurako Konishi, the hallucinating drug addict, Monica, are all a treat to watch.
Taskahi Miike, having released as many films as he has, is known for being a bit odd and also very entertaining. First Love is no different in either regard. This film has everything a movie lover could ask for and so much more.
First Love features car chases, gun fights, multiple double-crosses, grandmas getting punched in the face, martial arts melees, boxing matches, one-armed sword-wielding maniacs, animated scenes, and more. In other words, there is a lot to take in, making this film a real treat the whole way through.
First Love at Home
First Love is available now on Digital, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment.
The home release of the film is presented in 1080p High Definition in a 16:9 Widescreen format. The Blu-ray features Japanese and English dubbed DTS HDMA 5.1/Stereo audio tracks along with English subtitles. The DVD features Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby Digital/Stereo audio.
There are no true bonus features except for trailers for other Well Go USA Entertainment releases.
This may be blasphemous to some, especially since I haven’t seen many, but First Love is my new favorite Miike film. It is fun the entire time and with great acting, laugh out loud moments, and blood-soaked action, I couldn’t ask for more.
Be sure to pick up a copy of First Love for yourself, as I give this one 4.5 Century Eggs out of 5.