The “gunman” (Hideaki Ito, star of Cross Fire from the Gamera director), a stranger who blows into town, plays one of the two ruling gangs against the other and emerges as the sole adult survivor.
Ruka Uchida, love child of the red and white clans, the other survivor and only non-participant of the bloodshed. According to closing titles he will grow up to be sequel-happy Italian hero Django.
Shun Oguri (Azumi, Miike’s Crows Episode 0) is Akira, the boy’s father, killed before the movie even starts but shown in flashback.
Yoshino Kimura (Glory to the Filmmaker, Dream Cruise), mother of the young boy turned Red Clan prostitute and killed off at the end.
Koichi Sato (Ring Spiral, Kinji Fukasaku’s Gate of Youth), cruel leader of the red clan, rips it up with a chain gun.
Yusuke Iseya (Memories of Matsuko, Distance, After Life, upcoming Blindness), stylin’ leader of the white clan, kinda the less evil of the two evil lords.
Kaori Momoi (Izo, Kagemusha), Akira’s mother and a legendary badass in hiding who comes out and helps our hero for the final fight. Falls somewhat in love with a white-headbanded guy whose name I couldn’t figure out.
Teruyuki Kagawa (of Memories of Matsuko, Serpent’s Path and the next K. Kurosawa film), the town sheriff torn between loyalties to both sides, becomes schizophrenic. Probably Miike’s most interesting new character in the story.
Quentin Tarantino (Destiny Turns On The Radio, Little Nicky) plays the funny-talking white guy in the framing scenes.
Watched late at night with Jimmy. Full of eager anticipation, turned quickly to apprehension when we’re unable to understand half the dialogue (plays at festivals with English subtitles, which we lacked). Then movie seemed to get longer and louder and more tedious, and I got sleepier and less interested…
I mean, don’t get me wrong, it has visual appeal, and a few stand-up-and-clap moments of bravura. Didn’t leave me cold exactly, just… wasn’t thrilling and I started to regret suggesting it.
But ya know what? Looking through the screen shots I started to like it a lot more. It’s a really awesome movie when… you know…
…when I’m not watching it.