Afro Samurai: Resurrection (2009 TV Movie)
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It seems unreasonable to complain about the plot with a product such as this but it is hard not to in this instance. The film mould means that the plot is more obvious than in the series (where the overall quest was stretched out) and it is a bit daft, with zombies, cyborgs and the like all coming into play. The relationships and motivations are a lot more complex (confused?) as well and the downside of this is that the film feels cluttered and too busy to get involved in. It still works in regards creating action sequences though and this is where the film delivers. OK so the final fights are slightly spoilt by the robotic aspects but up till then there are plenty of attractive and stylish moments including one in a busy carnival that I found really well done.
It is not quite as cool as the series though because the use of music is not as good. The hip-hop comes and goes but is rarely used well. Also missing is, and I hate to use this phrase, the sense of "urban cool". The series felt "black", it felt tough it felt cool. Here that is not so much the case. Partly this is down to the plot line that tries to do something with the main character that the delivery cannot produce but the main thing is the way that Ninja Ninja is annoying. I know the point of him is that he talks so much but it is meant to annoy those within the film, not those of us watching. It didn't annoy in the series but his dialogue grates here. Credit to Jackson for doing it though because his cool presence is a good fit, but he pushes Ninja Ninja too far one way while taking Afro too far in the other by being too gruff. Liu, Hamill, Lowenthal and a few others all do good work but don't have the material to make a difference.
The Afro Samurai movie will mostly please those that have come for the style, since this is what it is all about. The plot negatively affects the film, almost getting in the way of the style and the flow rather than allowing it to happen. It still does enough to satisfy fans of the genre but it is not as enjoyable or as effective as the series was.
This movie is simple awful. I loved Afro Samurai but this isn't continuation this is abomination. I Just can't describe how bad this movie is without telling a plot, and I don't want to recall this ridiculous story. I only wrote this comment because I fell responsible to warn potential spectator. This is extremely short abstract I try not spoil vital parts: possible SPOILER's In the end of previous movie Afro got he's revenge. Now he trying to live in peace BUT... some idiot on motorbike break his home and drag his body to new number one. This new enemy takes Afro's father bones and leave to resurrect him. Afro must chase after number two head band because he think that resurrected father is a real one. Samurai journey is bloody and full of bodies. In the end he kill resurrected father. I can write this even shorter: Hero meet almost every character killed in previous movie + few new and kill them. Hmmm ...I think this movie is a mindless butchering with a lite story about how every bad deed made by Afro return to him.
Animation good. Everything else not very good.
As a fan of Japanese animation (Anime'), hip-hop, future-tense technology, martial arts movies, samurai movies and (sometimes) blaxploitation flicks, I was instantly enthralled by the 2007 pseudo-style Anime' "Afro Samurai" two years ago when I was able to catch parts of it during its short run on Spike TV. Like its predecessor, I missed the first of many sequels, "Afro Samurai: Resurrection," during its run on Spike TV.
"Afro Samurai" and its sequel remain strong personal favorites because they blend all of hip-hop, Anime', future-tense technology, martial arts movies, samurai movies, and blaxploitation flicks into one explosively entertaining and violent piece of Japanese Anime'-style slice-'em-up.
As you remember from the first series, Afro Samurai (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) had embarked on a lonely, lifelong quest of vengeance to obtain the Number-One Headband, after witnessing his father die in a fight against newly-crowned Number-One Justice (voiced in that series by Ron Perlman). Well, Afro eventually cut down his adversary, after being trained years earlier by a legendary sword master and obtaining the Number-Two Headband.
In "Afro Samurai: Resurrection," Afro's reign as Number-One is cut short when he is ambushed by Sio (voiced by Lucy Liu), a shapely assassin who is on her own crusade of vengeance against Afro because he killed members of her family while on his mission to become Number-One. Together with the diabolically twisted Professor Dharman, her older brother, the teddy bear-headed cyborg swordsman Kuma (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal), their three cyber-enhanced siblings and a slew of disposable, bargain-basement ninjas, Sio plans to resurrect Afro's slain father, for an apocalyptic final battle between father and son. So Afro, together with his sidekick Ninja Ninja (also voiced by Jackson), must again walk the path of the warrior, the path of violence and bloodshed, and once again become Number-One.
Now here is a sequel that lives up to its predecessor, and doesn't disappoint in delivering full-on, animated samurai action. Unlike most sequels, it actually lives up to expectations in being a great follow-up to a recent classic. Most importantly, it's a sequel that's on equal grounds with its predecessor; a few marks in terms of storytelling and characterization keep this second entry from being superior. And it's still way too concerned with style over substance. However, these are only minor grievances in what is a mostly superior second outing.
But there is a lot to like in "Afro Samurai: Resurrection." Series creator Takashi Okazaki expands greatly on the futuristic, feudal Japanese world he unveiled for the first time two years ago. Director Fuminori Kizaki has greatly improved the animation from the first film, which here, more heavily combines elements of Japanese culture and hip-hop culture. Here, both the animation and picture are also very crisp and crystal-clear, giving the "Afro Samurai" universe a few eerie, beautiful shades of vibrant color that reminds one of looking at a Japanese painting.
I've always thought that because Afro Samurai is such a stoic, one-dimensional character, the baddies are usually far more interesting, and here they don't disappoint. "Afro Samurai" and "Afro Samurai: Resurrection" are most notable for having one of the most impressive rogues' galleries in any animated piece I've seen from Japan. There is absolutely nothing sexier than Lucy Liu's purple-eyed Sio, who is not only very deadly in her own right, but she also displays enough ample cleavage that it's a wonder her chest doesn't bust out of her kimono at any given moment. And then there's also her tragic brother Kuma, now more machine than man, doing his best Darth Vader impersonation as a tragic and sympathetic villain wielding two swords, instead of one, and riding around on the most awesomely bad-ass chopper I've ever seen in this series.
The last great thing about "Afro Samurai: Resurrection" is its soundtrack. Like the soundtrack to its predecessor, it was produced by hip-hop producer The RZA (also co-founder of the Wu-Tang Clan). It blares up during the most intense action, and features songs by legendary hip-hop greats such as Ghostface Killah and Inspectah Deck (both of the Wu-Tang Clan), Kool G. Rap, Rah Digga, Wu-Tang Clan affiliates such as Christ Bearer, Killah Priest and Prodigal Sunn, and finally The RZA himself. There's also more music from R & B crooners Stone Mecca, Thea van Seijen, and the legendary Sly Stone. And don't ask how or why, but an appearance on one track by System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian rounds out this killer soundtrack.
To sum it up, "Afro Samurai: Resurrection" is not better than its predecessor, but is on equal grounds with it. It successfully expands on the universe created in "Afro Samurai," one that's full of colorful characters, animation, great hip-hop songs, and vicious violence.
At the end of the day, Afro Samurai is still just a lil' dude wit' a head full of hair.
The original OAV series was a pretty particular beast. The story is extremely simple but the setting is a strange mix of influences. At the base lies an A to B tale about a samurai trying to find the number 1 headband, which will put him in the top spot. There is some background info about his motives but none of that is too interesting.
More fun is the fact that our main hero is a black samurai with a huge afro, voiced by Hollywood's favorite black guy, Samuel L Jackson. Even cooler is the setting, where old-style samurai antics are mixed with science, technology, Japanese myth and plain and over-the-top weirdness and action.
Resurrection leaves the concept of the OAV pretty much intact. Afro loses his headband and is forced to get it back and that's about all there is to it. Again some background story is added to keep things rolling and to give everyone enough motivation to start killing each other, but apart from some die hard fans I don't think many people will be to interested in all of this.
Main attraction of the film is still the artwork. From the start it was Koike's input that gave Afro Samurai its distinct style and appeal. Koike, one of the best animators today, was launched by partner in crime Katsuhito Ishii (Trava Fist Planet and the intro of Party 7), but most will probably remember him from his Animatrix short.
His distorted, larger than life, shadow-infused style is instantly recognizable. And even though I couldn't confirm his involvement in this film, the result just breaths Koike. It seemed they spared no money either, keeping in mind this is a TV film the animation is actually splendid, especially during the action scenes.
Character designs are still pretty cool with some outrageous figures popping up. There seems to be a bit more focus and technology in Resurrection which only adds to the fun. And there is of course the ending which is marvelously animated and is actually a little bit similar in effect to the ending of Tekon Kinkreet. It's all pretty vague and surreal.
Sadly, Resurrection still suffers from the same shortcomings the OAV had. The voice acting is terrible. Afro himself is OK and Liu's acting skills are on par too, but Afro's sidekick (also voiced by Jackson) is a pain in the ear from start to finish. He adds little to nothing to the whole film but is ever present. A real shame they didn't cut him out. And while it was doable in short bursts of 30 minutes, it really starts to irritate in a full length feature.
The soundtrack (by RZA) is not all that good either. Somehow the music and images rarely seem to flow together well. A little too poppy and a missed opportunity because with a little more effort Resurrection could've really outdone the OAV. Enough solid hip-hop that would've fit this film a lot better.
Luckily, the rest is still as cool as ever. It is not a film that caters for a wide audience though. It's core appeal is very simple. It has samurai, gore, technology, machine guns and a weirdness surplus. It's all about cool and action and apart from that there is very little, nor does the film seem to care about that. In that sense, it seems to owe a lot to films like Dead Leaves.
So if you're up for some good solid fun and don't have too much trouble neglecting the grating dub and soundtrack, there is plenty of amusement to be had from this film.4.0*/5.0*
As for the plot, like the first one it's somewhat lacking, but that can easily be forgiven due to the wicked-stylish animation, great voice-work, and action that impressed me more than anything sense Equilibrium. i give it a solid 8, if the plot was more cohesive it could easily receive a 9 or 10. I bought the special edition DVD for 20$, if you liked the first show it's definitely worth the money to buy the second. i really want to find the soundtrack to this because the RZA did a really good job with the music.
In a psychology point of view, this one does fit its original intend, a TV movie. With all the silly ads u have to watch in between, you may want to think more about your life, how educational!! Watch the Afro Samura (DC, the movie, 2007) by all mean!! But this one, u may as well take a dump while watching... now i wish i have a psp!!
Now probably this would have been at least a bit better if I had seen the show and I don't intend to, thanks to this. I know that the series is supposed to be a lot better than this. Now this had nothing interesting, expect for the great and smooth animation and some nice fighting scenes.
Propably good for 14-year-olds.
See the thing is when i watch an anime i expect a few things these things are.
Cute Japanese girls in school uniforms.
Some kinda Cyborg who his a killing machine.
Plenty of sword fights with limbs flying everywhere and faces sliding off.
A hero who has to avenge the death of any member of his immediate family.
But more than anything i want to see a good tentacle rape scene no anime is complete with out one.