The City Of Lost Souls

Tireless Japanese splatter director Takashi Miike's keeps his own worst impulses check, and the payoff is a satisfying and uncharacteristically romantic film. After hijacking a helicopter and rescuing his Chinese girlfriend, Kei (Michelle Reis, FALLEN ANGELS), from imminent deportation, Japanese-Brazilian gunslinger Mario (Teah) is faced with an even bigger...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Tireless Japanese splatter director Takashi Miike's keeps his own worst impulses check, and the payoff is a satisfying and uncharacteristically romantic film. After hijacking a helicopter and rescuing his Chinese girlfriend, Kei (Michelle Reis, FALLEN ANGELS), from imminent deportation, Japanese-Brazilian gunslinger Mario (Teah) is faced with an even bigger problem: getting them both out of Japan without being arrested. Mario first arranges for a couple of phony passports through Carlos (Atsushi Okuno), the manager of a popular Brazilian hang-out in Tokyo, then turns to ex-girlfriend Lucia (Patricia Manterola), a hooker who agrees to help even though she's still bitter over her breakup with Mario. One of Lucia's clients is a vodka-swilling Russian who handles illegal passage for stowaways, but his services don't come cheap: Mario and Kei will have to scrape together 18 million yen if they want to leave the country. Kei tells Mario about a profitable cockfighting operation run by her slithery ex-boyfriend, Chinese foreign exchange student Ko (Mitsuhiro Oikawa), who now heads a powerful gang. Mario recruits Carlos and fellow Brazilian ne'er-do-well Ricardo (Sebastian DeVicente) to help rob Ko, and their timing couldn't be better. They arrive at Ko's subterranean lair just as he's finished selling a chunk of high-quality Chinese cocaine to Fushimi (Koji Kikkawa), a cold-blooded yakuza with allegiance to no one. The surprise visit ends in a full-blown shoot out, but the good news is that Mario and his gang emerge unscathed. The bad news is that Ricardo snatched the wrong bag; he grabbed the coke, not the yen. Now Mario will have to unload a serious quantity of drugs if he wants to live happily ever after with the girl he loves, while Fushimi and his crazed sidekick, Yamazaki (Eugene Nomura), will stop at nothing to get his hands on what they've already bought and paid for. Ko, meanwhile, has the cash and couldn't care less what happens to the coke; he only wants Kei. The film is filled with Miike's brand of imaginatively staged violence and hints of fetish sexuality, but his sadism, which reaches its apotheosis in 2001's sickening ICHII THE KILLER, is tempered by a sincere romanticism and a number of lovely touches. (Look closely: That trail of blood smeared across that alleyway spells "love.") Mario and Kei make a beautiful couple and, believe it or not, Miike really does seem to care what happens to them. (In Japanese, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Russian, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Tireless Japanese splatter director Takashi Miike's keeps his own worst impulses check, and the payoff is a satisfying and uncharacteristically romantic film. After hijacking a helicopter and rescuing his Chinese girlfriend, Kei (Michelle Reis, FALLEN ANGE… (more)

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