Cartoony, funny, badass, and entirely inscrutable, Japanese director Takashi Miike's latest is all sorts of fantastic. A Japanese spaghetti western, Sukiyaki Western Django can probably best be described as Miike channeling Sergio Leone and throwing some Chuck Jones and Quentin Tarantino into the mix—and literally with the Tarantino part, since Miike's pal Quentin gleefully hams it up as a sukiyaki-eating gunfighter.
You might have to strain to understand the heavily accented English, but it won't matter if you miss a line or two: The plot is a mash-up of standard western fare, with the usual lone gunman (Hideaki Ito), the usual feuding gangs, and the usual saloon doors that're perfect for barging through. But since this is a Miike movie, there's plenty more, too, most of it unexpected and crazy: vivid splashes of candy-apple red blood, flower petals unfurling to reveal hidden babies, a massive Gatling gun, people with holes the size of dinner plates blown through their chests, interpretive dance, massive explosions, a sheriff with multiple personalities, samurai swords that slap aside bullets, and lines like, "It's a gen-u-wine... GOLD... RUSH! YEAH!"
When he reviewed Grand Theft Auto IV last spring in the New York Times, Seth Schiesel pointed to the Edinburgh-based gamemakers as having "flourished by identifying key elements of American culture, repackaging them for mass consumption and selling them back at a markup." Schiesel's line might've been targeted at Grand Theft Auto's interactive satire, but it's also a pretty solid way to describe what the Italian Leone did with his pulpy westerns—and to an extent, what Miike does with Sukiyaki Western Django, which celebrates the cinematic iconography of the American Old West while happily slapping on a coat of kinetic action and Japanese pop. The disparate ingredients are all here, by turns complementing and clashing with each other; as to what they all add up to, I have no idea. But whatever it is, it's a blast to watch.