Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Theatrical Release: March 17, 2000
Ghost Dog:  The Way of the Samurai


This strange anachronistic film from quirky director Jim Jarmusch (“Stranger Than Paradise,” “Mystery Train”) is about an African-American Zen hitman living in NYC. Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) is a “spiritual” gun-for-hire who raises pigeons and studies “Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai.” He communicates with his mafia boss by carrier pigeon and, much like Carnac The Magnificent, “he sees all, knows all” about the loathsome hoods that dominate the neighborhood.

Dove Review

Mixing genres, film techniques, and humor, the eccentric filmmaker gives us a hip-hop hero much like Super Fly, if he had been converted while trippin’ in the Far East. Amusing, never linear, but it is impossible for me to ultimately enjoy a film that uses “the” swear word 75 times, alone. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” Ephesians 4:29. “Ghost Dog” profanes God’s name and, like many Kung Fu movies, it pummels the audience while maintaining the theme that violence is bad. And although Mr. Whitaker is a fine actor, here his role is that of a hip killer who also steals cars.

Content Description

Language: GD 5, Jesus 5, Christ 2, F-word 75, S-word 6, SOB 1, N-word several times, expletives 15, crude terms describing male organ 2 – Sex: implied sexual situation 1, scantily clad woman 1 – Alcohol: drunk couple waking down a street, a woman downs a drink in one gulp – Violence: a whole lot of gun shooting and face bashing, with several scenes showing blood from gunshots and beatings, Body count: many.


Company: Artisan Entertainment
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Genre: Action
Runtime: 116 min.
Industry Rating: R
Reviewer: Phil Boatwright