Ah, Sion Sono… One can either love him or hate him, but you got to admit, the guy knows how to make the most F-d Up movies and make you comeback for more. Although “Suicide Circle” is the film that made me notice him with the boom of the Asian Horror at the beginning of the century (And is still my favorite from his filmography) the man has not stop bringing us films of almost any genre of cinema and even mix them «Just for the lulz».
“Why Don’t you Play In Hell?” bring us a weird cool mix of several subplots that makes this film hard to describe without going into spoilers. The story starts with Hirata, an aspiring filmmaker who clearly has some cards missing from his deck since he has no problem getting into a real street-gang fistfight with the illusion of capture the passion of the fight on film, he and his crew called “Fuck Bombers” enlist one of the gang members with the promise of turning him into the Japanese Bruce Lee. This happens at the same time that the Muto and the Kitawa yakuza gangs go into a truce after Shizue, the wife of Taizo Muto, the Muto’s gang leader, get sent to jail for killing some Kitawa’s men in self defense, that bloody massacre sadly also cuts short the promising acting career of Mitsuko, the child of the Muto family.
The story then jumps 10 years forward, at mere days before Shizue gets released from jail. Taizo tries to have their daughter to be the star of a film, fulfilling Shizue’s dream, but the rebellious Mitsuko and a recent attack of the Kitawa’s clan makes this goal more than difficult. In a strange twist of fate, Taizo see the chance to kill two birds with one stone when Hirata and the Fuck Bombers are brought in to make the film Taizo believes his wife deserves and at the same time have his revenge on the Kitawa clan.
If you have seen “Guilty Of Romance” or “Cold Fish” you KNOW this film is not as simple as I just described it, but why should I spoil the fun for you?.
“Why Don’t You Play In Hell?” is weird, bat-shit crazy, absurd and gory, with lots of action, jokes (and In-jokes) and self references that are sure to make most of the fans of weird Asian cinema happy. There are lots of tributes to the films of Quentin Tarantino (which in turn are tributes/references to Asian Crime/Gangster films so we can say it’s full circle) and you can feel it even in the film’s music (one of the best parts of the film, hands down) The problem that I see with the film is that Sion Sono just doesn’t know when to stop with the craziness, and that might kick some people off the train (BTW he has the same issue on “Tokyo Tribes”, but that is a rant for another day) not to mention that the pacing is little bit off, and he could’ve cut some 15-20 minutes of the film to make it better, although I admit, I liked the movie lot more on a second viewing. Huh, go figure.
The cast is very solid, and they do their best to sell you their characters. We got Jun Kunimura (Ichi The Killer, Audition, Kill Bill) as Taizo. Shinichi Tsusumi as Ikegami (Space Battleship Yamato, Space Brothers), Fumi Nikaido (Lessons Of The Evil) as Mitsuko, Hiroki Hasegawa as Hirata and Tak Sakaguchi (Versus, Azumi) as “Bruce” who was an actual underground fighter that became an actor of action films thanks to director Ryuhei Kitamura.
All in all, My thoughts for “Why Don’t you Play In Hell?” 4/5 (after the 2nd viewing) it’s a mess of a good time, that in moments can be tiresome, but certainly an entertaining film fit for fans of Sion Sono or seekers of the insane, wacky action, otherwise proceed with caution.