Fantastic Fest 2017 Review: BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Based on the Manga series by Hiroaki Samura, this action-packed, slice and stab samurai fest is not all about the badass violence, it has much heart and lovely character development as well.  Directed by prolific filmmaker Takashi Miike, Blade of the Immortal delivers on so many levels.  The wonderful screenplay by Tetsuya Oishi does have its familiarities, but still remains compelling with an emotional impact that will win the hearts of audiences.  

Takuya Kimura stars as Manji, a samurai blessed/cursed with immortality.  Though he has remained mostly inactive since granted with the ability to heal from any kind of injury, his retirement is about to come to an end.  Manji encounters a young girl named Rin Asano (Hana Sugisaki) who reminds him of his dead sister Machi.  Rin Asano’s parents were recently murdered by a group of warriors attempting a coup over all the other warriors in the area.  Unable to save her parents, Rin seeks vengeance for their deaths and asks Manji for help.  Because Manji knows how it feels to helplessly lose a loved one, he reluctantly agrees to help her.  The friendship formed helps both Manji and Rin learn much about themselves and life itself.

Takashi Miike has made a sensational and violent sword fest with Blade of the Immortal.  Not only is the action phenomenal, so are the performances by the cast who get to work with a great script.  In addition to Takuya Kimura and Hana Sugisaki, the movie features great work by Sôta Fukushi, Erika Toda, Kazuki Kitamura, and Chiaki Kuriyama (Battle Royale, Kill Bill).  Fans of Takashi Miike are sure to enjoy this exciting action flick and fans of the manga will marvel at the film’s kinetic energy and will appreciate that story’s heart remains intact. 

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