Mugen no jûnin (2017) Poster

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8/10
An entertainingly violent, action packed film from Miike.
ebossert5 May 2017
Viewed on opening night at Namba Parks Cinema in Osaka, Japan.

"Blade of the Immortal" takes place in Japan during the mid-Tokugawa Shogunate period and follows the deeds of Manji, a skilled samurai who has a decisive advantage: no conventional wound can kill him. In the past, his actions of vengeance (for the death of a family member) led to the deaths of 100 other samurai. Near death himself, he then becomes immortal at the hands of an 800-year-old nun named Yaobikuni. Decades later he befriends a young girl who desperately wants to avenge the death of her parents, who were slayed by a master swordsman who is attempting to take over all other dojos. Can Manji fight thru the villain's clan of assassins and secure justice for their deplorable actions? I was a bit surprised when confronted with the opening 10 minutes of this movie – which are legitimately outstanding. I'm not going to tell you exactly what happens, but even Miike's most vocal critics – and there are a lot of them – should admit that that sequence is fantastic. It's basically "critic proof." And it also establishes a darker tone than one might expect from the trailer. This movie gets violent and harrowing very early on, and I liked that.

"Blade of the Immortal" is an action film first and foremost, so it really needs to succeed on that front in order to work overall. Most fortunately, I think that this is a very effective action extravaganza. There is a ton of fighting in this movie, which is an obvious positive, but the placement of the action is very nicely spaced. In my recent review of "Call of Heroes", I mentioned that Benny Chan is very good at spacing out his action and maximizing the pacing of his action films. Miike does the same thing here with "Blade of the Immortal." There are a few huge battles, but also a lot of one-on-one duels (or scuffles with a small handful of characters) that are peppered throughout. "Blade of the Immortal" keeps moving and there always seems to be a fight right around the corner. I really liked that about this movie and consequently, its 140-minute runtime flies by much faster than you may think. The overall quality of action is good too.

In terms of performances, they are also generally good. Takuya Kimura carries the movie quite easily, Sota Fukushi handles the villain role well, and Erika Toda steals the show whenever she shows up. I liked the lead actress (Hana Sugisaki) too, but she does tend to scream her lines a bit too much. I think Miike should have dialed her down a bit.

I did not have subtitles while watching this in the Japanese movie theater, but the story and characters seemed rather basic and simplistic. Not a big problem in my eyes for a full throttled action movie like this, but a few of the side characters seemed to be wasted, like Chiaki Kuriyama's character (who did not do much at all, actually). The filmmakers probably wanted to insert more characters from the manga into the film, so a few of them feel like they were shoe-horned in. One thing I did like is how, at certain times, the villains are placed in the same bad predicaments as the protagonists which means that they occasionally have a common enemy.

This is an entertainingly violent, action packed film from Miike.
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8/10
Bloody human nature
Jithindurden29 November 2017
Almost plays out like a Greek tragedy but with a whole lot of bloody gore. When the film reaches the third act there are no more actual villains in there and the number of killings in this film might be good enough for a record. Yet, beyond the action, it still manages to touch on a lot of subjects on human nature.
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9/10
World-class production.
KaedeLoh8 May 2017
The most anticipated film for me for 2017. As a film writer, I look out for the quality of script and production. After watching the film 7 times in Tokyo, I can say the film's production was world-class. Cinematography, film editing, sound design, sound editing, production set design, costume design, hair and makeup, music are other aspects to die for. Miike had done an excellent directing job on the cast, especially its leading role, Manji (Takuya Kimura). Miike had successfully brought the best out of Kimura, shedding his KimuTaku's branding. In the film, Kimura portrayed Manji through and through. I almost forgot I was watching an idol actor who used to characterize squeaky-clean images in TV dramas. The role was so deep that you believed it was Manji's story and his immortal life that you really care about. Of course, the film will not be complete without the fine acting skills from co-stars. Hana Sugisaki, Sota Fukushi and Erika Toda had put on their ultimate to-die-for performance. The fighting scenes were artistically choreographed. The sound of swords clanging made your heart beat in sync with its rhythm. The script was well paced. There were moments of thrilling fights and there were moments of quietness. Lighting played a key role here in telling the story effectively. The cinematography told another story on its own. Every frame was a postcard. In my opinion, it was a successful adaption from the manga. What a great way to celebrate Miike's 100th film.
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8/10
Swords and Drama
kosmasp27 November 2017
A long time ago, my introduction to Miike didn't quite work for me. My first experiences with his movies were weird and not satisfying to say the least. But that happens sometimes when you see something you are not used too. This is his 100th (!!!!) movie, yes you read that right, and he already had his 101 played at some festival in the summer, so who knows how many he has done in the meantime.

But with this one, he kind of stays in a classic story line. You still get a bit of crazy, but it's pretty straightforward. So the story of Swordsman who finds himself in more than a bind due to his "life"-circumstances (a curse of sorts), is bitter, until a woman comes and asks him for help. We do know where this is going, but it still is filled with colorful characters, some very nice action scenes and a general sense of having fun while watching it all unfold! Predictable it may be, but that does not take anything away from the movie in the end
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9/10
Underrated Film out of Japan is a MUST WATCH
Searsino12 November 2017
It takes a lot to get me to leave a review (over 1000 titles rated, just 25 reviews). A film has to really be overrated OR on the other end of the spectrum. Blade of the Immortal is just that, an underrated film. Just to name some of the rare ones I felt an obligation to write about: V for Vendetta, Collateral Beauty, The Big Short, and Concussion.

Blade of the Immortal is an adaptation of a popular Japanese manga (comic) released in 1993. Having little familiarity with both the manga and TV adaptation, I will not give my opinion on how this compares. This is purely based on the way the story was told as well as the actors within.

This is a film with an outstanding cast. Takuya Kimura and Hana Sugisaki steal the show with performances that were beyond believable and packed to the brim with emotion.

Manji (Takuya Kimura) is a battle-hardened samurai who committed quite heinous crimes in a past life. A mysterious 800-year-old nun introduces a bloodworm into his body which will regerate/heal any damaged part of his body, thereby being cursed with immortality. In order to be freed from this eternal life, he has vowed to kill 1000 evil men.

Manji crosses paths with a young girl named Asano Rin (Hana Sugisaki) whose parents were murdered in front of her by a gang of elite fighters. He promises to help her avenge their death.

This film has both incredible choreographed fight scenes as well as great cinematography. I hadn't heard about it prior to viewing this and was quite taken aback. In all honesty, by having no background information of the movie I was able to truly enjoy this one. It's been hard these last few years to find new films that blow me away. Blade of the Immortal is one such film. Do yourself a favor and go watch it. Well worth the time.
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6/10
Beautiful cinematography, but one mess of a script
bw-2236125 January 2018
Takashi Miike is know for his great directing, and "Blade of the Immortal" once again proves, what this man is capable of when it comes to large-set fight/battle-sequences. The cinematography is breathtaking at parts, i particularly liked the opening, shot in black and white - reminded me of the old works of Akira Kurosawa. If only the narrative part of this movie would be as well-crafted as these fight scenes. Honestly, there are so many flaws in the script, i gave up counting after the 80 minutes-mark of this movie. First: Our protagonist is a totally useless, unsympathetic, whiny little girl, who doesn't work at all in this kind of plot. I understood the idea behind her character (fish out of water etc.), but i couldn't connect with her on a emotional level. She was just not interesting enough (the actress was great by the way, so don't blame her). I mean, you have all these overpowered beings in the plot, but the only "human" character does not serve well enough as a leading figure? That's one hell of a problem. Second: There are way too many situations in the story, where any sort of set-up is missing. Sometimes things happen without any proper explanation. Characters change their mind without any reasoning behind it. Thirdly: The pacing of this movie is totally off. It felt like i was watching Ben Hur at times. Maybe the removal of some fight scenes, would have been a good solution for this problem. Last but not least, there is just so much unused potential. Yeah i know, this movie wants to be like a fun action-trashfest, but you really could have told a genuint emotionally touching-story with this concept. It lacks some real depth. Although there are some interesting scenes sprinkled throughout the story (some neat interactions between pro- and antagonist; the moral ambiguity of certain characters actions - even the character-conflict of Manji). Still, if you want to see a good student-mentor-story even with pretty similar characters, than go and watch "Logan". It may not have that well-crafted fight scenes, but there for more heart and a better screenplay. "Blade of the Immortal" has a breath-taking opening-sequence, some interesting story-bits and twists and a astounding cinematography, but it lacks real emotions, neither does the screenplay live up to the potential of the basic concept. The actors are good, the soundtrack is catchy and you can have fun with this movie over all, but don't expect one of the great works Miike has accomplished over the years.
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I would have loved to given this a 10
jegd-847-63140712 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
First of all; Condensing the 30 volumes of the manga into 140 minutes of live-action would test anybody's directive efforts. 'Blade Of The Immortal' as a manga works on so many levels, because it takes each character and grants them their own back stories. I know time & editing wouldn't allow that, but I wish Takashi Miike had (at least) shown the youthful origins of Anotsu & Makie.

I loved Makie in the manga, disowned by her father, forced into prostitution, and her unbelievable skill made her an unforgettable character. Any fan of the books can recall the story of "Makie and the 50 wild dogs" with glee. To be fair, the character Makie Otono-Tachibana deserves a film all to herself. She was unfairly diminished in the movie.

Araya Kawakami (the mask maker in the books) who hides his past from his son Renzo is also diminished in the movie. This is another case for time & editing that disappointed me. I'd have to imagine there's enough on the cutting room floor to piece together this battle for a future DVD release or Director's Cut.

The subplots involving the crazed Shira, the blonde Hyakurin, the sun-glassed Giichi and their Mugai-ryū leader Kagimura were missed. All the subplots in the manga easily helped make 'Blade Of The Immortal' one of my favorite collections. To tell it all; Takashi Miike would need a good 10 hours of footage.

My more realistic criticisms would have to cover the make-up and effects department; Sabato Kuroi with the head of his wife and head of Rin's mother sewn to his shoulders is a good example. It looked cheap and unenthusiastic. Also watching the bloody sword fights I was hoping for the more overzealous approach of Quentin Tarantino than this toned down realism. Lastly was seeing a background character wearing a skull cap to give the illusion of a bald head. I wish I hadn't noticed because it impacted my feelings for the remainder of the movie.

The acting saves the overall film. Just the simple eye movements, shrugs and poses tell so much of the story that there were places where words weren't necessary. Takuya Kimura didn't fit the part of Manji at all, but his performance helped me forgive that. Hana Sugisaki who played Manji's murdered sister Machi as well as Rin Asano was perfect casting. Sota Fukushi as Anatso was fair enough as I didn't think he looked the part of the feminine features from the books. Erika Toda as Makie was bluntly amazing. I loved her and we could have seen more.

The adaption of the manga isn't to bad. Miike stayed gave great attention to the main characters. The biggest mistake was the manji symbol on the back of Manji's clothing. I actually understand the reasoning and put blame on the ignorance of US audiences. Most Americans would think it's a Nazi swastika and then release liberal hell all across the PC nation of their limited social media sites.

I enjoyed the movie and will watch it again. As stated I'm praying for added footage in a DVD/Blu_Ray release.
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10/10
Happy 100th film, Miike, may there be 100 more!
MisterWhiplash3 November 2017
Blade of the Immortal, which charts one man who gets immortality thrust upon him (he doesn't quite want it but, hey, the supernatural happens sometimes, gosh-darnit), and 50 years later the un-killable Manji sees a young girl who appears to be at least physically a reincarnation of his long lost slain-by-a-tattoed-psycho swordsf***er daughter Machi (now Rin, the two are played by Takuya Kimura and Hana Sugisaki respectively), and who's father and mother were killed by the ruthless Anotsu Kagehisa (a fairly stone-faced and at first seeming to be too cool Fukushi, near the end he sheds some of that). She swears revenge, but since she's all of 8 or 9 and has (limited) throwing star ability, a little help from a bigger, especially jaded-and-tired-of-life killer is the way to go.

This is Miike's 100th movie, and he knows in the best, most bloody and classical badass way. He has learned a lot over this many films - some of them quite masterful, a number of them crap, all of a signature wildman-maverick I'm-a-sick-all-get-out, but-I-love-cinema taste that we do not (genuinely) get much anymore in genre cinema - and the key things to me are that he knows when to show patience in the story, to let a scene or shot breathe between this Wolverine-with-blood-worms Tonin and the girl, to get actors who can do the finest work of their careers, and when to let the choreographers unleash their brilliance. I didn't think 13 Assassins could go farther, but I was wrong. Even the Wolverine connection surprises; dare I say it, but this may kind of be the better Logan movie of 2017 than the actual one (up to a point).

Sometimes, a little late-night epic revenge saga with an 800 year-old immortality-bestowing wizard lady, samurai who use their chopped-off appendages to their advantage (the bones can be weapons naturally), even a little governmental corruption and intrigue, is just what you need. Id like to think it's not so much an homage to 60s samurai movies, both in composition and movement and the high emotions and stoicism of the narrative and characters than it is just that Miike traveling back in time and shooting his with better quality film stock and slightly faster cutting here and there, but not too much. It's professionally made, but from the burning soul of an artist.

This is a blast for the jaded cinephile, and it manages to be a treat for those who are hardcore fans of Japanese samurai/Ronin swordplay films while also appealing to those who may be relative newcomers.
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7/10
Remarkable effort. Compressing 30 volumes into film.
dvoon-missy-mcmuffin11 November 2017
Having read the manga for close to 20 years. The live adaptation of the film is a fulfillment to witness. As a fan of the original, I have preconceived notions as to how the characters behaved and voiced in between panels.

Therefore the performances for bringing Manji, Rin, Anotsu and all the other casts to life were satisfactory. Compressing 30 volumes into film, means that there were major trimmings made in order to fit this medium. Most notably are the back stories and developments for all characters depicted. Some characters in film are relegated to cameos, while others lack the motivational complexity of their respective arc that were spanned across the years. And yet, I still found myself intrigued by the story presented to me here on film.

The actions are brutal. Not as gory as how I would like it to be though. The original format was way more gorier in certain aspects. But I can understand why it was needed to be toned down for live adaptation.

If one is into cinematography, feudal Edo era, a story of revenge, filled with action sequences of samurai swordplay - this is a film that I would recommend. It fulfills on all those aspects. It had heartfelt moments and dashes of fun sprinkled perfectly into its pacing.

However if one is into enriching character developments, motivations for all their arcs and more; I would suggest to visit the original manga instead.

Overall, it is still a very remarkable effort from everyone involved.
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5/10
Great visuals, but NOT a fulfilling samurai movie.
delightful-life11 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Story is about a dojo head being killed by a rival clan and the daughter asks this immortal samurai to be her bodyguard and get revenge.

Since this guy is immortal it makes all the enemies weaker than him and he is able to kill almost an entire army, all by himself. It was not fun, maybe even a little irritating. The actor who plays the body guard is really good, but the story was too shallow.

Samurai movies take great pride in what is the maximum, and even beyond that a man can possibly do (it fills your heart with courage and strength), in contrast this movie felt like cheating.

The 5 stars are just for the visuals.
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4/10
If you are a fan of the Manga you will probably be disappointed.
OnOffOnOff12 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Making 100 films in half a lifetime requires a director to move at a brisk pace. This is probably part of what gives Miike his signature style. And in many of his earlier films especially, this works in his favour.

This is not one of those films.

If you're going to translate a Manga/Comic with a huge fanbase to film, you should take your time and pay attention to the source material.

Fail #1 - The Look: Blade of the Immortal has high production values but it's not even close to capturing the beautiful aesthetic of the Manga. The fight scenes especially look very much like traditional "Chambara". A more stylized approach would have been more suited. And in 2017 there are more than enough examples of how to do this right. The way Manji disposes of his enemies is unbelievably dull and unspectacular. "Lone Wolf and Cub" from 1972 did a better job.

Fail #2 - The Cast: The two main characters are just wrong. Manji is 26 years old in the Manga and has kind of a cocky, youthful, nihilistic demeanour. Takuya Kimura is not a bad actor but he is in his mid- 40's and just seems like a completely different character. He doesn't resemble Manji inside or outside. Hana Sugisaki, while being about the right age, was just bad. Especially in the "emotional" scenes her acting completely falls apart. Bad directing/a rushed production schedule? Maybe. But it is what it is.

Fail #3 - The Writing: All in all the writing is way too verbose and often feels ham- fisted. There were many scenes that would have been improved if the characters had conveyed their emotions through acting instead of spelling them out. The film also commits the mortal sin of having the characters explain the plot several times. It's lazy and insulting to the viewer.

Fail #4 - The Relationship: Even though the film is 140 minutes long it fails to convincingly show the all-important bond between the two main characters developing. There are a couple of attempts but they fall flat on their face because of the aforementioned problems with writing, acting and direction. The weird age difference between the characters doesn't help either. Manji feels more like "Creepy Daddy" when he's supposed to be "Big Brother".

Fail #5 - The Manji Symbol: This is less of a problem with the film itself than it is a symptom of what went wrong here. Replacing the Manji symbol on the main character's back with..."something(?)"...(obviously to avoid confusing the poor, ignorant western audience about Manji's political views) shows that Miike didn't care enough about this film or it's source material to put up a fight and say: "This symbol is being associated with the Manga, the main character is named after it, it's use makes sense plus it looks cool so it should be in the film!".

Note for those not familiar with the Manga: The main character called Manji aptly carries the "Manji" symbol on his back. The Manji symbol is a left-facing Swastika (Sauwastika). It's an auspicious symbol still widely used all around Asia, mostly in religious contexts. Among other things it symbolizes an "endless cycle" and "eternity".

4 Stars for nice sets, costume design, sound effects, music, post effects and despite everything being fairly entertaining. But the Manga deserves a much more dedicated adaption than it received here.
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8/10
Truly lives forever
coreyjdenford8 December 2017
This review of Blade of the Immortal is spoiler free

**** (4/5)

Japanese VETERAN WRITER/DIRECTOR Takashi Miike is a busy man. Of course with 100 films to his name you don't expect him to take a break at some point. But as anyone will tell you if you have a dream to pursue or a record to break, then go for it. The latter may be what Miike is aiming to do here, at only 57 years-old who's to say he can't make another 100 features in his future years. To be fair, nobody would blame him.

His latest Blade of the Immortal he shows to have lost none of that signature madcap energy which made the frenetic action from Ichi the Killer and 13 Assassins. An adaptation of Hiroaki Samura's manga of the same name. We open with Manji (Takuya Kumira) a skilled samurai in a revenge battle after the death of his sister, after killing what seems to be an army of swordsmen he's brutally injured in comes a mysterious woman who gives him a terrible curse: Immortality. This, obviously, means he can never die, but this power comes with the ability to heal his wounds, yes, a bit like Wolverine. Though Manji doesn't heal by simply liquid adamantium running through his body, Miike's way to make him heal is more gruesome and more painful. With this curse and his skill with the sword he promises to help Hana Sugisaki's Rin, a girl who wants revenge after her parents are killed by Anotsu Kagehisa (Sôta Fukushi) the leader of a group of swordsmen.

Whereas 13 Assassins was more of a classical tale with samurai fighting behind a backdrop of ancient Japan, Blade of the Immortal is a bit more comical and could essentially be seen as the mutant child between 13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer and X-Men. Unlike the clawed mutant, Manji has to kill a thousand evil men in order to regain mortality. Let the sword fighting begin! Yet, again Miike keeps up his tradition of a rising body count, blood splattering all over the ground and limbs flying everywhere. And with a runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes that's quite a lot of bodies, good luck counting them.

Indeed, Miike isn't shy to introduce new techniques during the swordfights, one particular standout is a woman wielding a kind of hand-held corn plough, and other than that standout he loses a point for lacking originality as most of the fight scenes including the long finale often feel repetitive. However what the film lacks in originality he gains the point back for the kinetic thrills and his characterization of the heroes and the villain, their performances are incredible. Despite the high body count, Blade of the Immortal is both extremely warm and funny and is perhaps one of his best films yet, it's big, it's bloody and it's brilliant. Congratulations, Miike on your centenary!

VERDICT Frenetic action meets healing powers Miike's 100th film is filled with more, madcap energy and more kinetic thrills than most Hollywood actioners.
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8/10
Feast your samur-eyes on this.
benpeyton29 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
@BenPeyton007

29th November 2017

Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal began life as a Manga series in 1993, where it was published in Gekkan Afternoon magazine and ran for almost 20 years. With sales of over 7.5 million and numerous prestigious awards to its name, it quickly attracted international acclaim.   Spanning two worlds, audacious action, spectacular scenery and the mysteriousness of magic, Blade of the Immortal seemed almost too vast to bring to the big screen successfully, until Hiroyoshi Koiwai, a producer from Warner Brothers Japan, approached renowned director Takashi Miike to take charge of his project. Not one to be daunted by the production's challenges, Miike's ambition and vision embraced the concept and took things forward by casting actor Takuya Kimura in the lead role of Manji. With the rest of the cast assembled, an almost three-month shoot began in the freezing temperatures of Kyoto during Winter.

Samurai, Manji, becomes cursed with immortality after a monumental battle during which a personal tragedy profoundly affects him. Desperate to regain his soul, he sets out to fight evil in an attempt to find redemption. He crosses paths with Rin (Hana Sugisaki), an orphan whose parents were brutally slain by Anotsu (Sota Fukushi) and his ruthless gang intent on taking over the surrounding dojos and consolidating the samurai. Agreeing to help avenge her parents, Manji's life is about to become even more complicated.

The pace is set from the opening black and white fight sequence. Reminiscent of the Crazy 88 massacre in Kill Bill we learn how Manji became immortal, and why he's so determined to help Rin when they eventually meet. With his power complete, the film changes to spectacular colours with a healthy dose of blood red thrown in for good measure.

What follows is a succession of confrontations with Manji going all Liam Neeson on the various baddies that are daft enough to try and stop him in his quest for vengeance. Incredibly violent, but with the odd smattering of humour, Blade of the Immortal is a treat for the eyes, if you can bear to watch the gore. Find yourself chained up by a bad guy? No problem. Chop your hand off, kill the enemy, grab your hand and the sacred bloodworms in your body will sew that bad-boy back on for you.

The fight scenes are incredibly well choreographed, with many moments seemingly filmed in one continuous shot. A plethora of unusual weapons are showcased and utilised to great effect. Axe- anvils, blades attached to staffs and daggers hidden within swords are all theatrically introduced as well as some outrageous costumes and hairstyles.

The touching relationship between Manji and Rin is similar to Matilda and her saviour in Luc Besson's Leon, as Rin seeks comfort from a man she doesn't really know, desperately seeking a father figure and finding herself surrounded by death and tragedy from a young age.

With exceptional performances from Kimura and Fukushi, Blade of the Immortal is a towering achievement and a cinematic experience of epic proportions.
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8/10
Excellently crafted samurai-film
amongpixels21 November 2017
Not much to say except it is clear on every second of the screen there has been so much care and time put into it all. It becomes a satisfying emotionally-driven film by the end, and is no doubt worth your time.

The acting, direction, music, cinematography, and story are all working together to create a truly entertaining experience - and I don't know why someone wouldn't enjoy this film.
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7/10
Rin screams her lungs out. 10/10
visezcamor-978-19353625 January 2018
Fairly decent movie. There are some inconsistencies between this and the anime but that didn't bother me that much. And the anime is not that great to begin with. It's an enjoyable watch in the end.

What I didn't like: Manji's relationship with Rin is very basic. They almost never interact after the introduction scene. Rin screams. A lot.
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7/10
Windless mayhem, blood and violence.
MartinHafer24 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoy samurai film, especially the Zatoichi films. In most of these, the hero might kill 10, 20 or even 30 baddies in the course of the story...and you just accept this instead of thinking through the logical flaws. However tough it is to accept this invincible hero, this is nothing like "Blade of the Immortal"...where you see more than 30 people killed before the opening credits!! In total, I am guessing you see about 300 killed by the hero/anti-hero...and this doesn't count those killed by the baddies!! Because of this, it's basically a bloodbath from start to finish punctuated by a few scenes involving the plot.

As for the plot, the story begins 50 years earlier. Manji is a wanted man and you see him fight off about 30 of more baddies--with arms, legs and blood flying everywhere. But, Manji is mortally wounded despite his wiping out everyone. Then, a hooded woman arrives and announces he's cursed and inserts holy blood worms into his wound...and they keep him alive despite his injuries. In fact, the limb he's lost rejoins the body!!

Now the story jumps ahead 50 years. A group of evil baddies are wiping out dojos of swordsmen throughout Edo (modern Tokyo). In the process, Rin's father is butchered in front of her and her mother raped...and this girl is now an orphan. She is told about Manji by this same hooded woman...and she seeks him out to be her protector AND instrument of revenge. What follows is the bloodbath as Manji hacks his way through not only this group of baddies...but government baddies as well.

Overall, it's moderately enjoyable but because the gore and violence was so nonstop, it all made me feel a bit numb to it all. I would have preferred a tad more story and a tad less emphasis on one boss battle after another.
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9/10
Let the Blood Flow
dcarsonhagy14 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After reading the other reviews, I realized I'm not NEAR the film buff I thought I was! I learned this was this director's 100 film. I'm sorry to say I have missed his other 99.

"Blade of the Immortal" centers around a samurai who, after doing battle with an entire town, is ready to die. He has just witnessed the killing of his little sister and after he avenges her, he feels he has nothing else to live for. Unfortunately for him, an evil spirit has followed his trail and instead of helping him die, injects him with bloodworms, which will keep him immortal. He now merely exists and his greatest wish still is to die. It is during his existence he realizes he is nowhere near getting his wish.

I loved the style of this movie. The beginning scene is shot in black and white, so don't think there's anything wrong with your television or the movie. The way the black and white part of the film segues into the color portion is amazing. I loved all the characters introduced, as they all had depth to them--everyone had his/her own back story.

This film is rated "R" for constant graphic violence, a little salty language, and adult themes. I hope that I can find more films done by this director because this one certainly was entertaining. In Japanese with subtitles and has a running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
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5/10
Slow death
politic198313 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Over-the-top and excessive are two phrases that can be pointed in the general direction of director Miike Takashi: the high-octane montage that greets us to the Dead or Alive trilogy; the comical blood-splatting of Ichi the Killer; the extensive battle scene of 13 Assassins. All are examples of pushing cinema to its limits of taste, morality and viewer boredom threshold.

The third is an interesting one. His late Nineties and early new millennium films were often notable for their excessive violence, however, this violence was often creatively twisted into place alongside other, often stronger elements. The nature of relationships and power balances between characters in Ichi the Killer; the slow-building tension of Audition; the nostalgia of Nostalgia. With the budgets more limited, Miike would seemingly earn his stripes and get creative, but now with the budgets and hype much greater, has excess simply become self-indulgence? Based on the manga, Blade of the Immortal, the supposed ninety-ninth film of Miike's now one hundred not out career, starts with Manji (Takyu Kimura) with a price on his head, fighting off a hoard of bounty hunters, while trying to protect his younger sister. A troubled, masterless samurai, Manji duly fights them all off, but at the cost of numerous wounds. Pouring blood worms into his wounds, a mysterious old woman heals Manji, giving him the curse of immortality, though the same cannot be said for his sister. Switching forward fifty years, Manji has been living a desolate life alone and un-aged, but is sought by the young daughter of a dojo master killed by the Itto-ryu: a school determined to resurrect the skill of sword-fighting as a necessary evil, unlike the simple physical education it has become. Wary at first, Manji vows to help Rin (Hana Sugisaki) get her revenge, largely, it seems, because she resembles his young sister. Bloodshed ensues as the Itto-ryu (and others) challenge Manji to battle one-by-one, soon discovering his immortal powers. The Itto-ryu also seek to become the Shogun's fencing school of choice, but find themselves deceived by the Shogun's army resulting in a three-way stand-off between Manji and Rin, Anotsu (Sota Fukushi, the head of the Itto-ryu) and the Shogun's vast forces and some other side story characters thrown-in again at the end to further the silliness. What results is a perhaps overly-long sword fight between hundreds of men and a couple of women in the vein of 13 Assassins.

On balance, there is probably more bad than good with Blade of the Immortal. Over-indulgence perhaps the main problem. While we expect this to be a slash-fest with arms chopped-off galore, when this is the main crux of the film, it becomes a little tedious. An obvious comparison, Ichi the Killer centred around two main characters and their sadomasochistic relationships with those who hold power over them. The gore is an amusing and fun distraction, rather than the main draw.

Here, Miike chooses to go for long, drawn-out fight scenes that offer little after the first thirty seconds other than just adding to the body count. Little is particularly developed in terms of characterisation, other than Manji coming to terms with immortality being a fate worse than death and his explanation to Rin that revenge only leads to bloodshed - something Miike adequately shows. Villain Anotsu delivers a surface-level monologue midway through the film, but beyond this, the audience is given few clues as to whether to love or loath him.

Extended fight scenes is nothing new to Miike, with 13 Assassins having the mother of all battles, but this was an epic battle to which the film had been building, rather than a extended slash-fest, having already had some earlier slash-fests.

The film looks pretty in parts, with some good cinematography and the special effects fit the bill. But as a bigger, more anticipated release than perhaps his films in the Nineties received, the bigger scale has come at the cost of creativity. His peer Shinya Tsukamoto still works to limited budgets, but still creates some inventive and interesting works.

Manji is referred to as the Hundred Man Killer and Miike is now a one hundred production director. But with his recent trajectory, his career seems not so much immortal, rather a slow death.
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9/10
Awesome!
Aries_Primal26 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched the movie and then realized the final song sounds so familiar. And of course that was so great surprise when I realized I already know this song and by chance (yeah, sure) I found the movie and the soundtrack by Miyavi san. What can I say about the movie, first I thought it's kinda slow and I will watch only slaughtering till the end. Then I was surprised when things turned against Anotsu Kagehisa, but I have to say every character was great and on it's place. This movie absolutely deserve max vote and more people to watch it. Regards!
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9/10
A Century of Takashi Miike
tgusol11 November 2017
Takashi Miike Century is as always a pleasure to watch, a mix of the source manga a bit of samurai champloo and a whole lot of Takashi Miike.

It is not perfect it has a few issues with pace and transaction at certain points, but they are minor enough and dare not linger to long in your thoughts or to spoil a crimson ride into sword porn heaven.

Using source material that is counted in volumes for one film is always and will be forever a task no director can take lightly. only twice does the film struggle with this but it soon breaks free and returns to small moments of perfect beauty strung together like a string of pearls.

What ever comes next from Takashi Miike I will be there.
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8/10
Long fight scenes!
jamesmartinez-2057113 November 2017
Overall, I thought this was a great action movie. Some scenes seemed really random when they cut to them - but this didn't take away from the movie for me. The fight scenes were nothing short of epic and long (which I thought was good). Definitely worth a watch if you like action packed samurai movies with a solid story!
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5/10
Just read the manga!
amine_chergui31 October 2017
Another attempt at compacting 30 volumes in a 2 hour movie. We often say that a book is always better than it's movie adaptation. Well, it's also the case here. Having read the manga, I strongly suggest that you read it first, avoiding the spoilers in the movie, and enjoying the great work of Hiroaki Samura.
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7/10
Crazy Miike stuff as usual but with a unique look at motives of multiple characters
chickenjackson28 December 2017
Yes, there's A LOT of blood since this is a Takashi Miike film and it's always a pleasure to see Kimura Takuya do his thing on screen. For anyone familiar with the genre, what was unexpected, but welcome, was the treatment of characters trying to find their way, each with their own sense of motivation, and reflections on the murky way of revenge. Ultimately everyone that picks up their weapon must deal with their own demons and justifications.
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7/10
Fun but overrated as hell
phanthinga27 November 2017
Mark the 100th movie directed by Takashi Miike one of Japan craziest director nowadays Blade of the Immortal based on the manga series with the same name is a entertaining modern samurai bloodbath but not as good as i though judging by Metalscore.Mad credit for the production values when the movie look very slick with beautiful cinematography and good sword fight choreography.The biggest fault in this movie fall in the same category as other live action movies is the characters.Sure the characters look very alike their manga counterpart but the movie decide to skip too much backstory mainly about Anotsu Kagehisa and Makie make their role pretty forgettable.If you never read or hear of the manga this will be one hell of a experience
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Surprisingly lame
Matt34518 November 2017
I know Blade of the Immortal is classic anime/manga franchise, none of which though I have seen or read. And I know Takashi Miike is a highly prolific, occasionally controversial director with cult- status of whom I've seen a few movies and found them in general quite interesting. I would say his "13 Assassins" can be regarded as one of the modern classics of Samurai movies.

Now I imagined Blade of the Immortal would be a similarly new classic entry, which seemed to have been supported by the first ominous headlines I had read. The result I would say however is something far less exciting and something far more ordinary than an experienced director's masterwork or even a commentary on his own prolific experience (an interpretation I've seen). While there may be such hints as the latter, by the way, the movie is ultimately more similar to what one would expect of a random, low-budget "Samurai"-movie or manga-adaptation release.

What makes the movie underwhelming to me is the hero and the dialogue and story. For one, even though we see an impressive fighting scene of the hero in the beginning, after that he is mostly quite pathetic. For that reason he has to rely on his immortality almost as a gimmick. I don't have any special expectations for the dialogue and story, and it is a basic revenge story of a young girl who had her parents killed by a group of Samurai (or sword masters) and who reminds the hero of his murdered sister. That is all well and fine, but we repetitively get shoehorned dialogue and drama about right and wrong of killing (these murderous fighters) which feels completely out of place and illogical. At first the protagonist even tells the girl, who comes to him to help her in her revenge, that such sword masters would probably not kill without a reason! Even though his sister had been killed by just such people, inciting his impressive fight in the beginning... ("And who can tell right and wrong" - yadyada.)

Due to an unfortunately truly pathetic protagonist and pointless, poor dialogue (which apparently is thought to be much deeper than it is) the movie is held back and hard to watch.
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