Pistol Opera

2001 Suzuki movie

Rating: 12/20

Plot: Pretty much the same as Suzuki's Branded to Kill except with a female protagonist and a lot more color. "Stray Cat" is ranked third in the hierarchy of assassins and needs to kill "Hundred Eyes" in order to reach the top. There might be a pay raise involved.

This one just didn't sit right. It's a very colorful movie and I'm a sucker for colorful movies, but the colors in this felt more like plastic supermarket colors to me. The characters were just kind of there, mingling with all those colors as they tried to shoot each other, and I just didn't have any interest in anything they were doing. What they were doing actually made very little sense, and although that's just fine (maybe even the norm for a Seijun Sukuki flick) if the visual and the style are cool enough to make it all worthwhile even as complete nonsense, this one didn't quite offer enough. The final ten minute climactic fight scene (predictably against the exact person I figured would be involved) is visually stunning, indeed a sort of opera sans songs. There's a poetry to the surreal backgrounds, stagy color usage, and character movements, and I'm glad I stuck around to see it finish up. But really, the trailer for this, one that I remember as making Pistol Opera seem like it would be a solid ninety minutes that looked like that final ten minutes, is the only thing you need to see. You'll understand the plot just as much, and you'll still have time to watch a better movie, like Branded to Kill or Tokyo Drifter.

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