MPD Psycho - Volume 2 (2000)
By: M. Walsh on October 18, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Siren Visual Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic). Japanese DD 2.0. 114 minutes
The Movie
Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Naoki Hosaka, Tomoko Nakajima, Ren Osugi, Rieko Miura
Screenplay: Eiji Ootsuka
Country: Japan
There's weird, and then there's Takashi Miike's MPD-Psycho.

The shock of discovering his wife's mutilated corpse triggered a split in Yousuke Kobayashi's (Naoki Hosaka) personality. Initially a police officer working with the homicide squad, Kobayashi became Kazuhiko Amamiya, a crack shot criminal profiler. It was as Amamiya that the titular MPD-Psycho was able to track down his wife's killer, the very nasty indeed Shinji Nishizono. After murdering Nishizonzo, Amamiya went into early retirement, shrugging off the misfortune in his past and, eventually re-marrying.
Five years pass. Amamiya is approached by an old police buddy, Tooru Sasayama (Ren Osugi), who asks him to come out of retirement and help profile a killer who is turning women into human flower-pots. Amamiya refuses. Yet when his wife goes missing, and with talk of the long-dead Nishizono somehow being involved in the murders, it isn't long before MPD-Psycho is donning his stylish forensic gloves once more and digging around in the eviscerated remains of one victim or another.

The episodes on this disc are far less frenetic than those that preceeded them. This isn't to say that Miike has suddenly decided to structure his series in a more linear fashion. Far from it. I simply mean that more time is now spent on clarifying bizarre plot points, something that becomes both a blessing and a curse. As bewildering as the first episodes were, I enjoyed their reluctance to pander to the audience. "Here are all the clues", Miike seemed to be saying. "Now it's up to you to put them together."

With episodes 3 and 4, the series seems to be in real danger of becoming bogged down with too many instances of grinding exposition. There is still much to enjoy and, if anything, the episodes on this disc can be seen as fully realised versions of the ones that came before them. Extended scenes of absurdist comedy, a trademark of Miike's, are very much a factor here and these scenes are among the highlights. There is also a massive reduction in the pixelating of disturbing images. And, most importantly, the story line continues to surprise. There are some really clever turning points in these episodes that set up a, hopefully, show stopping finale.

Yet, and I have to be honest here, I missed the giddy confusion of the first two episodes. I have a sinking feeling that, regardless of how MPD-Psycho plays out, the final "reveals" will be slightly disappointing. This is only because, at the start, I honestly believed that anything could happen. The rules weren't so clearly defined.

There is still a lot here to appreciate and enjoy. Plenty of insane set-pieces, several moments of laugh-out-loud comedy and some nice, juicy gore. Although I go into the final episodes with a slight feeling of trepidation, I have learnt that to second guess Takashi Miike is to set oneself up for a very nasty surprise.
Why? Why? Why? All the problems inherent in the first disc make their way over to the second. Edge enhancement, aliasing, compression artefacts. That irritating jerkiness, which I assumed for a while was an artistic device but am now convinced otherwise. A non-anamorphic transfer with burned in subtitles. The series deserves better.
Also identical is the quality of the sound mix. At low to medium levels, this is a reasonably effect mix that packs some surprising grunt. At higher levels, things can become a little bit distorted.
Extra Features
Trailers for Miike's Ichi The Killer, Visitor Q, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 2 and Fudoh.
The Verdict
Not as good as the astonishing genius of MPD-Psycho: Parts 1 and 2. Nevertheless, this is still light years ahead of anything presently dragging its corpse across our television screens, locally or otherwise. Shame about that transfer, though.
Movie Score
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