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» » Hebi no michi (1998)

Short summary

A man enlists a friend to help him identify and exact revenge upon his daughter's murderer.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Wohald
    Serpent's Path is one of two movies on the same subject--revenge--Kurosawa shot back to back; the other is Eyes of the Spider. This film deals with two men, one a former low-level yakuza member obsessed with avenging the murder of his young daughter, and the other, a deceptively mild-mannered math professor who is helping the grieving father for reasons that are at first unclear.

    As he often does, Kurosawa uses a conventional genre (here, the revenge film) as a way to explore the hidden darker side of human nature. In Serpent's Path, the theme is that once one has given oneself over to the most base instincts one has, such as violence and vengefulness, there is no crossing back. And that this is a risk for everyone, even, as we find, an "average guy" like the professor. His real motives provide the movie with its chilling finale. (But the movie is not all dour seriousness; Kurosawa works in much black humor as well, as in the golf-course abduction scene.) In all, a first-rate thriller worthy of David Fincher.
  • comment
    • Author: Mettiarrb
    Forget moral intent (don't shame Boston, buddy), as it has never been one of K. Kurosawa's goals in his films. What is here is his typical great, atmospheric camera work, an excellent storyline and complex characters. By the way, the temporal order of the film is not in the least confusing, the principal has a flashback or two, but they are not obtuse at all. That said, this is probably one of the few movies Kurosawa has made of late which betrays his sense of humor. I may be going a bit far here, but it may be the blackest comedy EVER. Just have a look at the flashback at the end and the cheesy credit music tell me its not supposed to be a bit humorous. Anyhow, a great film by a great director, even though it was made on a limited budget with the same actors and crew from what could be called its sister film, "Eyes of the Spider" (Kumo no hitomi).
  • comment
    • Author: Clever
    Serpents Path is a movie that just makes me more furious that Kurosawa is going back to the Japanese Horror sub-genre for his most recent film (Loft). The reason being: this movie is incredible. I consider myself a pretty big fan of Kurosawa movies, at least considering I am an American (non-Asian), and I love all of his films. However, I want to see something different from him. There is no doubt that Loft is going to be good, but we have already seen what he can do with the traditional Japanese Horror from the movies Seance, Cure, and Pulse. He tends to work in genres so I would have liked to see something else. Anyways about Serpents path. Serpents Path is a great revenge film. It has beautiful Kurosawa photography (composition). It also exemplifies several of Kurosawa's trademarks: very wide shots, distant action, blunt head trauma (lol, some of the best here, competes nicely with Doppelganger), dark humor, realistic sound, realistic camera movement and lighting. My only qualm with the film was the young girl (student)character. She seemed very obscure and out of place. I realize what she did for the story, and for the film, but I think it could have been done better another way. Other than that the film is wonderful. Much better than its "sister-movie" Eyes of The Spider. This film needs to have a wide release in the US. If you want the DVD it looks like you can only get it from EBAY.

    Where this ranks with other KK movies:

    1) Cure 2) Doppelganger 3) SERPENT'S PATH 4) Seance 5) Bright Future 6) Charisma 7) Eyes Of The Spider

    Haven't seen Pulse... can't find a Region 1 DVD.

    Joey Halegua
  • comment
    • Author: Gosar
    This film has an encouraging start (if you are a fan revenge films) where a man and an accomplice abduct a person who they believe to be the murderer of the man's daughter. They take him to an abandoned warehouse where it seems like a drawn-out and vengeful torture-murder will occur. However, this never materializes. Instead, a secondary plot emerges where the accomplice has his own agenda of revenge for his own daughter who was also murdered.

    The film's plot is basic. Initially, it seems that the film will be a character study of sorts, however, this only happens in a minimal way. Many of the characters are two-dimensional and are grossly underused, or in fact entirely unnecessary. The Yakuza boss is featureless and unimpressive. The "watchdog", who is described by a Yakuza boss as being unstoppable, is quickly stopped. The little girl who is a maths prodigy has no purpose in the plot... I'm not sure at all why she even featured in the film, perhaps her role was as a prop to show the maths professor's sorrow for the loss of his daughter, where she is a proxy daughter? The father of the murdered child (not the maths professor) is apparently an ex-Yakuza member, although, he behaves and presents more like some lowly office worker. The maths professor dresses and behaves more like a Yakuza... it's not convincing.

    The sequences where the maths professor is teaching maths are entirely gratuitous, with the exception of the first one as it revealed who the accomplice was. The subsequent times these scenes occurred added nothing to the plot and were very dull.

    The ending of the film was, frankly, boring and the final scene (the "one year earlier" flashback) made no sense at all.

    The production value seemed decent enough and the acting wasn't bad, which is why I gave it the rating I did, but the current rating on IMDb for this film (7.2) in my opinion is far too generous.

    This film was quite watchable and overall it didn't bore me, but personally it is not something I expect I will watch again, at least not any time soon.
  • comment
    • Author: deadly claw
    This is a darker sequel (or prequel?) to Eyes of the Spider (Kumo no hitomi) by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. An explicitly violent story of revenge that has a man trying to track down the killers of his pre teen daughter. They turn out to be part of a pornography ring that he captures and dispatches with the help of a professor. The real story is the professor's agenda. But time sequence is confusing and therefore the moral intent unclear.
  • Credited cast:
    Shô Aikawa Shô Aikawa - Nijima
    Teruyuki Kagawa Teruyuki Kagawa - Miyashita
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Shirô Shimomoto Shirô Shimomoto - (as Shiro Shitamoto)
    Hua Rong Weng Hua Rong Weng
    Yûrei Yanagi Yûrei Yanagi
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