Blade Of The Immortal - This Miike Movie Does Not Rock
Dir: Takeshi Miike
Starring Takuya Kimura, Hana Sugisaki, Erika Toda
Takeshi Miike’s 100th film (yes, you read that correctly – 100th film – and he’s made some more since) starts very promisingly, with a beautifully shot black and white flashback that sees Takuya Kimura’s samurai Manji, takes on a mass army of bounty hunters, lay waste to them all but fail to save the life of his beloved sister.
Saved by a witch and made immortal through some blood worms (!), years later and Manji is a damaged hermit, brought out of his shack by another young girl, Rin, played by Hana Sugasaki – who also plays his late sister, hence Munji’s sense of obligation to this new orphan. Together they embark on a revenge trek through a feudal landscape as rogue samurai seek to unite the dojos of the land in a power grab that will inevitably lead to bloody violence for all.
Now, we don’t profess to have seen even a decent sized fraction of Miike’s oeuvre, but, whilst this has some stand out moments, it lacks the dynamism of, say, 13 Assassins. Manji’s back and forth journey towards revenge takes too formulaic an approach, to the point where even the big and undeniably bloody action sequences start to simply feel more repetitive than vital. The influence of the Western is clearly present, as indeed the influence of the samurai movie has often been reciprocated in that genre. But again, this just leads to a sense of over familiarity, where mere excitement would suffice.
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