Blade of the Immortal                 review by Bobby Blakey

There are few Asian directors as iconic as Takashi Miike. He has unleashed his own brand of features on fans for years including 13 Assassins, Audition, Ichi the Killer and so many more. For his 100th film he is returning to the ultra-violent genre that put his name on the map with the popular manga property Blade of the Immortal, but does it do the manga justice or will it fall on its own blade?

Blade of the Immortal follows Manji, a highly skilled samurai who becomes cursed with immortality after a legendary battle. Haunted by the brutal murder of his sister, Manji knows that only fighting evil will regain his soul. He promises to help a young girl named Rin avenge her parents, who were killed by a group of master swordsmen led by ruthless warrior Anotsu. The mission will change Manji in ways he could never imagine. I love pretty much all martial arts flicks in one way or another, but we just do not get enough samurai themed films anymore. Add the tone and style of Miike to the project and you have gotten something that stands out like only he can. I am not overly familiar with the source material, but I can tell you that this film delivers on pretty much every level.

The story is pretty straight forward with the initial set up filmed in black and white. This opening sequence offers up an epic fight sequence that not only creates the legend of where Manji’s life is heading, but also who he will become. Once the situation that occurs making him the immortal that we know is going to happen and it’s at this moment that the film shifts to color. The film jumps ahead in time to take on a new story and offers up buckets of blood and dismembered body parts. There are some epic fight sequences that seem to never end in the best way possible and will no doubt entertain the truest samurai purest.

There are some clunky moments here and there where the story kind of gets tangled in on itself, but the action is so plentiful that you can look past it. This is the most hardcore Miike has been in some time screaming back to his early days and its so refreshing to see him showcase his masterful ability with this kind of source material. I can only hope that he has more of these films locked and loaded and ready to slash its way to theaters, but until then you can grab your own copy of Blade of the Immortal when it hits Blu-ray, Steelbook, DVD and Digital HD on February 13th from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

 

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