Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 119 Minutes
From: Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm
Available February 2, 2016 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download
Poor Akikazu (Kôji Yakusho). He used to be a great police detective, but after a few mis-steps of alcoholism, drugs, and beating up people, being fired, and getting no respect by the lollipop-sucking younger’ detective, his life is in shambles. Bad enough, but then he gets sucked into a gang, turf war that eventually leads back to his missing daughter, Kanako (Nan Komatsu).
Oh, and his daughter is evil. Such is “The World of Kanako.”
Being asked by his ex-wife to find the missing Kanako, Akikazu begins with the easy part, going through Kanako’s belongings in her bedroom, and discovers a heroin kit. Uh oh, maybe Kanako isn’t really the good girl she pretends to be, and through a series of flashbacks to Kanako’s life and her manipulation of a fellow student, and Kanako’s own memories that begin to come flashing back to him, Akikazu must follow the trail of badness that Kanako has left behind.
Yup, as he searches out Kanako’s acquaintances he keeps finding stories of Kanako, how Kanako would twist people with her kindness and beauty, and how she would crush them into a world of drugs, prostitution, and general badness. The problem for Akikazu, though, is that deep down he loves Kanako, doesn’t want her hurt, and will do everything he can to find her, seek revenge on those who might have hurt her, and as he gets deeper and deeper into the world of Kanako he becomes part of the violence, and his own, foggy memories become clearer.
“The World of Kanako” is full of twists and turns, over-the-top violence, and a look at a world of people that are basically insane, which is part of the fun. Sure, there is some seriousness, some typical “I will seek out those who may have hurt my daughter and crush them!”, and some disturbingness, but through it all, even though I had to “read” during the movie (It’s a Japanese film with English subtitles), towards the end of it all, as Akikazu is basically a walking pool of blood, the truth of where Kanako is comes out, and it’s not really what you will think.
Some of “The World of Kanako” does have those “Oh, come on!” moments, but for the most part the movie does a great job of melding together the demons Akikazu is dealing with combined with the depraved world that Kanako, an almost epitome of evil, finds herself a part of. There are enough scenes that break some of the monotony by going over the top (the shootout scene at the end is tons of fun-ness), and Yakusho’s portrayal of the “growing ever-deranged as he learns the truth” Akikazu is utterly fantastic.
Sure, unless you know Japanese you’ll have to “read” the movie, but if you want a good Asian-style, over-the-top violence, thriller, “The World of Kanako” is right up there. Get through some of the really disturbing scenes, which oddly are necessary to bring the depraved world’s together, but for what it does it’s a 4 stars out of 5 from me, but I will understand if you end up hating it.
In the world of Blu-ray extras, I will say that “The World of Kanako” actually has one of the better “Making of” extras I’ve seen, which I found pleasantly surprising. It gave just enough insight into the characters, just enough look at how some of the scenes were made, didn’t drag on too long, and wasn’t the normally “lame’ making of extra a video usually tricks you into watching. Stick around for it and learn a little bit more about Kanako’s world. The Blu-ray also gives you a free digital download, a nice little fold-out of artwork, and a booklet filled with pictures from the film that also includes a further dissection of the film, and an ode to the director, Tetsuya Nakashima.
That’s it for this one! L8R!!