3 June 2005 | dbborroughs
Excellent action film thats a bit too tied to Japanese history for Western eyes
This is the story of a Christian martyr who is killed when the uprising he is leading is put down. Vowing vengeance he returns from the dead and with the help of other unhappy souls he tries to destroy the shogun responsible for his death. Opposing him is swordsman Jubei, who has to fight his way through the undead minions in order to stop the plot to bring chaos to the world. (The Jubei character was a real person and shows up in other Japanese tales) This is the second version of a historically based supernatural novel. The earlier film starred Sonny Chiba and was an action packed film that made very little sense but was fun to watch. Here we have a nice blend of action and plot, then again maybe its too much plot. While this is an excellent action film, though the larger implications of who some of the characters really are was lost on me since I'm not as well versed in Japanese history. This is a film that assumes you know the period that the film takes place since it brings many real people and places into play. Who ever put the DVD I saw together must have been aware of the need to be informed on Japanese history and customs so they included, as part of the subtitled track, helpful tidbits about terms and people and places. It helps in the short term but by half way into the film I was feeling a bit lost.
Still this is a very good movie. The action is spectacular, the opening castle assault is amazing, and the horror is scary, how the dead come back will probably creep you out. This is a well thought out and well made supernatural action film. I recommend it, with the understanding that you may feel a bit lost (Though that's not a reason to pass this by since it is a good film)