Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Ley Lines (1999) shows Miike's versatility even more.

The more movies you watch by Takashi Miike, the more you realize he has done just about everything in every genre. The man can literally do anything. He has already done so freakin much that it's absolutely mind-blowing. Comedy, horror, action, crime, drama, sci-fi, fantasy, hell he can do all of them in one film. Just consider this: Stanley Kubrick directed 13 features. Hitchcock directed about 55. Spielberg 37, Kurosawa 32, Ozu 48, Tarantino 9, Guillermo del Toro 11, Jim Jarmusch 15, etc. Well, Miike has directed about 107. That is unbelievable. It's all the more astounding when you discover that Miike was given a chance to direct by a total outsider to the film industry, and yet Miike is like an entire industry all by himself now with the sheer number of films he directed. He wanted to make films that hadn't been done before. Films that the Japanese film industry wasn't making, and Ley Lines is a good example since it's about a trio of young Japanese of Chinese descent struggling to survive in Tokyo. They make friends with a distraught Shanghai hooker and piss off the local crime lord as their situation gets progressively worse. As much as I liked Rainy Dog, I prefer this film although I'm hard pressed to identify why since both really engaged me. I was less enthused by Shinjuku Triad Society although I was still happy to watch it but with Miike, you really never know what you're going to get if it's a superhero comedy like Zebraman or a bizarre surreal acid trip like Gozu or just a badass old-school samurai tale like 13 Assassins. Maybe you'll end up with giant sci-fi roaches in his anime adaptation Terra Formars or get disturbed by his groundbreaking horror Audition or witness his brilliant family fantasy musical The Happiness of the Katakuris. I just think in the end you can't go wrong with Miike. Even lesser Miike is still extremely entertaining and original.