Why Don't You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de naze warui) (2013)

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Released 18-Feb-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 4
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 124:31 (Case: 126)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shion Sono

Madman Entertainment
Starring Jun Kunimura
Shinichi Tsutsumi
Tatsuya Nakajima
Fumi Nikaido
Gen Hoshino
Hiroki Hasegawa

Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Shion Sono

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† Writer / director Shion Sono is one of the most ambitious, inventive and challenging directors working in Japan today. He is prolific, having directed I think ten feature films between 2009 and 2014 plus TV shows and a documentary, and his films about aspects of Japanese society including Suicide Club (2001), Love Exposure (2008), Cold Fish (2010) , Guilty of Romance (2011) and Himizu (2011) are frequently bleak, nihilistic, anarchic and funny. It was perhaps inevitable that Sono would sooner or later turn his gaze on two staples of Japanese society and culture: the yakuza and filmmaking. The result is Why Donít You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de naze warui) a film that is so far over the top it is in another stratosphere!

†††† When she was ten years old, Mitsuko, the precocious daughter of yakuza boss Taizo Muto (Jun Kunimura), starred in a popular toothpaste commercial with an infectious jingle and aspired to be a serious actress. But her career ended, and the commercial was withdrawn, when her mother Shizue (Tomochika) killed, in a welter of blood, a group of assassins from the rival Kitigawa yakuza clan and was gaoled for ten tears. This also kicked off a yakuza gang war which was settled when Ikegami (Shinichi Tsutsumi), the new boss of the Kitigawa clan, agreed to a truce. At about the same time a group of underground filmmakers lead by wannabe director Hirata (Tatsuya Nakajima) calling themselves The F*** Bombers are running around the streets shooting 8mm footage of brawls and dreaming of making a masterpiece with a young martial artist named Sasaki they believe will be the new Bruce Lee.

†††† Ten years later; the youthful ambitions of the Bombers have stalled after making a promotional trailer and although Hirata (now played by Hiroki Hasegawa) is still dreaming of making his masterpiece, his star Sasaki (Tak Sakaguchi) is fed up. Shizue is now due to be released in a couple of weeks and her dream that Mitsuko (Fumi Nikaido) will be a great actress remains. To please her Muto has prevailed upon a producer friend to cast Mitsuko in his film. However Mitsuko is more intent on taking revenge on an ex-boyfriend who has jilted her and runs away from the film set, on the way coercing innocent bystander Koji (Gen Hoshino) to be her new boyfriend for a day. At the same time the rivalry between the Muto and Kitigawa yakuza clans is about the break out into an open war.

††††This is not a time for Muto to be distracted but he wants to please Shizue and make Mitsuko a star. So he decides that his yakuza will start a film company make the film themselves although, as one of his men points out, they are gangsters not filmmakers! Mitsuko and Koji are found and caught but when Koji is about to be killed Mitsuko agrees to star in the film provided Koji is the director. Koji, of course, knows nothing about filmmaking either, but through a quirk of the film gods he enlists Hirata and The F*** Bombers. Hirata seizes his opportunity; he will make a film of a real life yakuza fight to the death between the clans, using real swords, guns and nunchakus. The result may be most frenzied, blood-soaked action ever put onto celluloid; the only problem is that there could be no-one left alive at the end to finish it!

†††† Why Donít You Play in Hell? is a riot: a jumble of in-jokes, Bruce Lee jumpsuits, storylines, timeline changes, flash backs, multiple characters and deliberately flashy camera techniques, such as constant intercutting and jump cuts, plus deep and vibrant colours, especially the reds. It is very hectic and chaotic and sounds confusing, but Sono maintains an anarchic sense of humour and has a firm grip on his material and never lets it get away, not even in the very bloody and gory finale where humour and blood flow in about equal qualities.

†††† As a film about filmmaking, yakuzas, love and toothpaste commercials, Why Donít You Play in Hell? is violent, funny and unpredictable, as well as being one of the most engaging and out there films I have seen for some time.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Why Donít You Play in Hell? is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† Filmed using Red Epic cameras the print is sharp and detailed. Colours are glossy and natural, except where they are accentuated for effect, such as the red blood floor near the beginning. Blacks are solid throughout and shadow detail good. Brightness and contrast were consistent, except where deliberately brighter such as the toothpaste commercial. Skin tones are natural except where they evinced that digital yellowishness under lights.

†††† There was occasional minor ghosting against mottled backgrounds and the end titles shimmered slightly but otherwise artefacts and marks are absent. Scenes of 8mm footage were letterboxed and deliberately grainy.

††††English subtitles are in a yellow font. They are clear and easy to read and I did not notice any spelling or grammatical errors.

†††† The layer chance at 71:55 resulted in a slight pause just after a scene change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† Audio is Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

†††† Dialogue seemed clear and centred, the surrounds and rears being used for mostly music and ambient sound. However during the action sequence they were loud and enveloping with deep gunshots, the clang and swish of swords, the crash of screens and the thump of bodies. The sub-woofer provided appropriate support to the music, gunshots, thumps and general mayhem.

†††† The score is also provided by writer / director Shion Sono and an eclectic mix it is too sampling classical, electronic, pop and many things in between, thus perfectly suiting the film!

†††† Lip synchronisation fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer (1:43)

Eastern Eye Trailers

†††† Trailers for The Raid 2 (1:39), Firestorm (1:53), 009-1: The End of the Beginning (1:23) and Rurouni Kenshin (2:10).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† There are a couple of Region 2 Japanese releases of Why Donít You Play in Hell? with varying extras but the DVDs are not English friendly. The Region A US Blu-ray includes a press conference with Sono running 22 minutes that is reported to have very poor video. I cannot find any reviews of the Region 1 US DVD so I cannot say if it also includes the press conference. For now call it a draw.


†††† Why Donít You Play in Hell? is a hoot and hugely entertaining, a wonderfully anarchic film about filmmaking, yakuzas, love and toothpaste commercials. If you enjoy Sonoís films or just want to see something totally different and way out there, Why Donít You Play in Hell? is just the thing.

†††† The DVD has good video and audio. Trailers are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, April 27, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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