Blade of the Immortal

release year: 2017
genre: action/drama
viewing setting: home Bluray 4/15/18

synopsis: A warrior who can't die becomes the bodyguard of a young girl seeking revenge.

impressions: Good fight scenes, so-so plot. Like almost every Japanese action/samurai movie I've ever watched, this one had events and behaviors happening without sufficient explanation as to why those things were happening. This movie is based on (and apparently takes the best parts of) a long-running manga series which is awesome. And that's not to say that this film isn't good - it is, and it has some crazy and violent fight scenes. I just feel that it could have been better. The lead character, at the time of the movie's events, had had fifty years to hone his skills, and should have been a super-efficient killing machine (as were other, non-immortal characters in this film.) One major gripe is what I call the "Wolverine drawback" (and it happened in that movie too) - this is where you have a cool hero with some power that makes him basically unkillable, but you weaken that coolness by somehow handicapping the hero's power so that regular opponents stand a chance. No, I don't want to see that. I want to see him slice up hundreds of bad guys while being wounded, and then I want to see him heal up and spit on the remains of his enemies and walk away. THAT'S cool.

acting: Takuya Kimura is the weary and often bored-looking immortal warrior Manji, who actually spends most of this movie with his healing powers working super slow. Hana Sugisaki is Rin, the young girl out for revenge, who was introduced as someone who might actually be good in a fight before that potential was set aside. Sota Fukushi is bad guy Anotsu, whose plans to unify all warriors are at the heart of the problem. Erika Toda is a warrior-woman who uses chained blades and jumps around a lot. Chiaki Kuriyama, who was memorable as an insane, lethal bodyguard in Kill Bill, has a small role here.

final word: Fun, but could have been better if the immortal warrior had been allowed to be at full power.

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