MPD Psycho Parts 5 & 6 (2000)
By: M. Walsh on October 26, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Siren Visual Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.85:1 (Non-anamorphic). Japanese DD 2.0. 113 minutes
The Movie
Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Naoki Hosaka, Tomoko Nakajima, Ren Osugi, Rieko Miura
Screenplay: Eiji Ootsuka
Country: Japan
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.

So here they are, the final installments in Takashi Miike's wonderful and infuriating surrealist mini-series. If you have read my reviews of the previous episodes, you will know that I felt MPD-Psycho lost its footing mid-way through the second disc. Unfortunately, the problems I had with those episodes continue here. It isn't so much that the pacing of the series became so lethargic, in fact one of the great things about Miike as a director is his continual shifts in tempo and tone, it's just that, for me anyway, what began as a feverish joyride wound up as an all too conventional treatise on the complexities of the plot.

As before, there are a number of astonishing Miike moments to enjoy, and his visual sense is a keen as ever, but there are only so many ways a director can film a dialogue scene before even his incendiary camera work fails to disguise the endless, ponderous exposition. Which isn't to suggest that the series doesn't venture into surprising, unexpected territory. It's just that so much of MPD-Psycho would have benefitted from being show to us instead of told, something that the first two episodes didn't fall victim to.

It is always a joy to watch Miike work and, even during his lapses, he can still throw a bullet in the fire to keep you on your toes. There are some choice moments leading up to the snowbound denouement and, even if I came away feeling slightly disappointed with the way that this series panned out, there is more than enough here to warrant a recommendation.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is a distressingly poor transfer. All previous problems return, from the undulating blacks to the painful amount of edge enhancement. The box again promises an anamorphic transfer, and again fails to deliver. Although the subtitles are well placed, they are burnt in. This is simply not good enough.
A good, solid mix at low to medium volume levels, on par with the others in the series. Things can become a little distorted if you turn this one up too high, so be careful.
Extra Features
Trailers for Miike's Ichi The Killer, Visitor Q, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 2, Fudoh, and City of Lost Souls.
The Verdict
Somewhat of a letdown, considering the explosive content of the first two episodes, but a fascinating and worthwhile series nonetheless. Although the parts are probably greater than the sum, even the sum is pretty damn good. Essential viewing, irrespective of its faults, with lots of vintage Miike to keep his fans amused.
Movie Score
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