Wow and wow. Having seen the previous version from about 1990 just a couple of weeks ago - I was able to compare them pretty much as I watched. What emerges in about two seconds is that Takeshi Kitano has created a completely different version of a classic. It's like watching a Romeo and Juliet that's entirely tragic in tone, next to a version that's full of excitement and spirit and humour.
Also - deciding to boost the color palate of each scene and infuse the movie with drum rhythm - from the farmers hoeing and planting rice in rhythm with drums to building auntie's house as an elaborate and 'melodic' beat - are crazy and yet, really wonderful decisions. Making the celebration at the end conclude in a gigantic production number - American tap dancing crossed with traditional Japanese drumming - is just goofy and inspired.
So much fun. And soooo much blood!
Pretty much a perfect entertainment.