Cast: Sato Takeru, Takei Emi, Aoi Yû
Original Story: Nobuhiro Watsuki
If you are looking for a great action-packed samurai film, this is it.
This. Is. It.
I have waited 9 whole months for this (the first few months were utter suffering). I had to content myself to watching the trailers over and over again. Finally it opened in cinemas. If this movie had to cost me a fortune, I would gladly have paid for it. This is how much I have waited.
And for someone who has waited so long, I am very happy with Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai X Live Action Movie. It's AWESOME!
They couldn't have picked better people for the roles. The actors were so perfect to their characters, they are really living versions of the anime! Except maybe for Sanosuke; he didn't look like the one I had in mind. But since his acting performance was so fitting (I love the swagger!), I have approved of the choice later on.
Takeru Sato is indeed Himura Kenshin. His movements, his mannerisms and his facial expressions are that of the swordsman himself. Sato did not play a one-dimensional character, as many in the film industry do. He did not play the role. He IS Himura Kenshin. He has felt the pain, he has fought the thousand battles, he has lived through the struggles of Battosai. You can see it in his eyes.
The rest of the cast have done their parts surprisingly well too. Kôji Kikkawa's performance as Jine and Emi Takei's performance as Kaoru are commendable. Some Samurai X enthusiasts might comment that some of the actors, especially the females, weren't spot on with playing the characters as they were in the anime/manga, but I must emphasize that this live action version is very fitting. Everything was in order, given the limitations of showtime and storyline.
LIGHTING AND FILMOGRAPHY
I am no expert in this area, but I love the lighting, the texture and the color palette of the film. They were blended well to create an era that seemed so long ago. The shots were passionately and lovingly created and definitely without a waste. I can see that the directors, cast and crew all know about Samurai X by heart.
Rurouni Kenshin is filled with all the sword-slashing goodness that fans have been hoping for. The ringing of the swords will excite you more than guns and robots can (this is the real deal; fighting like no other sci-fi can show). So if you are looking for testosterone-laden action flick, this live action movie of Samurai X won't disappoint.
The fight scenes were spectacular! I tell you, this Sato guy really knows how to handle a sword. His form and his speed are top notch. If you watch Samurai X, you'd be surprised at how accurately Sato executes the movements of Battosai the Slasher. I can't say enough of how awesome he was. No doubt, he is a great swordsman, I mean, actor. Or maybe both.
They employed very little CGI and lots of action stunts -- making the movie very impressive. The choreography of the actors were perfect. You would hope that after making the film, none of them were seriously hurt.
Creating a two-and-a-half hour movie about half of Kenshin's life is a feat in itself. So you can't expect all your favorite characters to be present, right? Some might even think that the presence of other known characters weren't needed. Though this may disappoint some fans, I think the storyline that the movie followed is justifiable, to say the least. It was made so that those who had no idea about Samurai X will still be able to follow the story.
Granted, some people may even think that the movie is too long. Every scene is essential, but if you don't understand what a scene stands for, then you would think that the story is just dragging on. The movie was created so as to be able to stand between those who know everything about Rurouni Kenshin and those who know zilch.
There are tons of other things that could've been part of the movie; hence I am starting to believe that another Rurouni Kenshin movie will be created (fingers crossed).
PLAY OF EMOTIONS
One can easily see that this film was made by people who are passionate about the story of Rurouni Kenshin. They did not just pack it with awesome visuals, as expected with samurai movies, but they also played with various emotions of the characters, the society and the era they are in.
It is not so hard to relate to what is happening in the film, even though it's in Japan, and we are very much modernized now. The situations that the people had to deal with and the dilemma of a country just starting to pick itself up after a long time of war are so raw and real. The characters are the products of the war and the poverty it brought forth. Even if you don't understand a thing about Rurouni Kenshin, you'd be hard bent not to be sympathetic to the characters' plight.
I wouldn't recommend the movie to people who have absolutely no idea who Himura Kenshin is. If you're looking for the perfect movie to watch with your date, this is NOT it. Unless of course your date knows all about Battosai the Slasher. Why so? Because you'll waste your time, money and effort spending more than two hours watching a great action film while explaining the entire story to your date. Your date won't understand (would even feel alienated), and you would end up looking stupid. Plus you won't be able to enjoy the best parts of the film (not to mention ruin the moment for those trying to enjoy it)!
But as a fan and having long awaited the movie, I am glad to say that it passed my expectations and more. I went home happy, telling myself that if I had to watch it again, I'd gladly pay double. It's that good. Everyone in the cinema applauded when the movie ended. So no doubt, I give it a rating of 5 out of 5!
Rurouni Kenshin is an AWESOME action movie. I love it! What do you think?
Get a copy of this movie at Amazon.com!