6 January 2015 | s3276169
Enjoyable Samurai Action Romp
I'm not a huge fan of the Samurai genre. The blood, brutality and cruelty that inhabits many of the films in this genre is, at times, very disturbing. It was a pleasant surprise therefore to encounter the Rurouni Kenshin series. These films follow the Samurai formula but depart from the norm in so much as they actively downplay the brutality in favour of a more peaceful, hopeful message.
The key character Rurouni Kenshin could best be described as a reformed Samurai. Rurouni has come to see the wastefulness of taking human life, choosing, instead, to take a less lethal approach to subduing the bad guys with the blunt edge of a double edged sword. Of course, there are always a few genuinely vile villains and these are dispatched with the swords sharpened edge.
Its my understanding this is the second in the live, as opposed to animated, Rurouni Kehshin series of films. I watched the first and enjoyed it immensely so I decided to give the second a go. This film is darker and more serious than its predecessor, possessing somewhat less humour. The violence is a little more intense too and occasionally sadistic but not overly graphic. The conspicuous fight scenes, as was the case in the first outing, remain remarkably polished and exceptionally well choreographed. Especially when you consider the large scale and numbers of people involved in many of the battles scenes scattered throughout the film.
The key fight scenes between central hero's and villains are of the highest caliber and its these moments of stirring swordplay and martial skill that make this film really shine. Combine this with solid, original storytelling, good pace and some novel plot twists and turns and you have a very engaging action flick.
I watched both this film and its predecessor from end to end without getting up once or feeling in any way bored.There are subtitles, unless, of course, you speak Japanese but I found this film, like the first, so engrossing they hardly felt like any effort at all.
Nine of of ten from me.