Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Short Attention Span Review: Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Short Attention Span Review: Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Part Logan and part director Takashi Miike's own incredible samurai epic 13 Assassins, Blade of the Immortal isn't as good as either of those films, but it is seriously cool.  Think about it: a stoic samurai warrior sworn to protect a young girl who pairs his incredible skills with a potent healing factor of his own--there's an idea.  It has promise, no doubt about it, and Miike delivers on that promise with one killer action scene after another.  And at a hundred and forty minutes, Takuya Kimura and Hana Sugisaka are given more than enough material to flesh out their characters and draw us into their story.  The effects are stellar, the villains are memorable, and the tale is complex.  Despite the lengthy runtime, Blade of the Immortal never drags, and I do believe that there is a throwdown of some significance gracing the screen roughly every five minutes or so.  The lead baddie is Sota Fukushi as Anotsu, and he enters the movie as the very epitome of a despicable antagonist, yet as the story unfolds he emerges as perhaps the most dynamic and conflicted player in the gruesome proceedings.  Dripping with gore, host to an abundance of wicked duels and at least one massive battle, and populated by groovy characters who hold our interest even when they aren't drawing blood, Blade of the Immortal is quite simply ill as hell.  Now, it is not without faults, as there are a number of choppy transitions that lead one to believe that despite running two hours and twenty minutes, significant pieces of the tale must have been lost to the cutting room floor.  These abrupt shifts are more than a tad disconcerting, and rob the film of some majesty, but it is still a fine motion picture made by talented filmmakers, and it will be fun to revisit whenever I have a jones for some dynamic carnage.

Final Grade: B+

As much as I respect and enjoy Takashi Miike's work, this stylish action yarn's biggest strength is Takuya Kimura in the lead role.

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