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Feudal Japan. Kamo Serizawa and Isami Kondo turn a collection of student fencers into a band of assassins known as the Shinsen Group, devoted to the Tokugawa shogunate and to an elegant code of action and behavior. Kondo leads the band against the forces of the Emperor in hopes of preventing his restoration to the throne. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Solid historical drama where swordplay takes a second seat but is never absent for long
Produced by Mifune's production company with Hiroshi Inagaki supervising proceedings (in a kind of movie he could make with eyes closed), SHINSENGUMI is a typical, big-budget retelling of a classic Japanese story, but one which, unlike Chusingura, has significantly more relevance to contemporary history and the western world. A sprawling two-hour historical drama, ably, at times even impressively, directed, well acted (Toshiro Mifune practically guarantees that), with an emphasis on the political machinations between Loyalists and Shogunate supporters rather than swordplay, but still broken with sudden bursts of messy violence and bookended with blood spraying on the camera, SHINSENGUMI should be an essential viewing to all lovers of jidaigeki. Possibly even the definitive version of the story.
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