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Review: Blade of the Immortal – “Wildly entertaining and bloody fun”

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The man who brought audiences the disturbing Audition and Ichi the Killer is back. And this time, there’s no limit to the amount of film blood Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike will use.

This epic samurai saga makes all other bloodbath bonanzas look untrained and positively mundane. John Wick – pah! Commando – small potatoes. The Bride? Meh. That guy from The Raid? Amateur.
Just wait till you meet Manji (Takuya Kimura), a skilled samurai cursed with immortality and haunted for decades by the murder of his sister. When a young girl, Rin (Hana Sugisaki) – a girl with a striking resemblance to his late sister – shows up asking for his help to avenge the murder of her parents, Manji begrudgingly joins her fight.

The man Manji is sent to kill, however, is so skilled with his own sword, and has so many followers to his cause, that getting to him is not going to be easy. Which of course means Manji must kill a lot of people before he can get to the one he actually wants. It also means a lot of one-on-one fights and a lot of one-on-I-lost-count-how-many fights.

Because Manji will do what he must to keep Rin safe, even when he realises that his immortality powers are starting to weaken.

The supporting cast are all impressive to watch, especially an almost unrecognisable Chiaki Kuriyama (Kill Bill, Battle Royale) and there is (usually) an elegance in the way they fight each other, no matter how brutal the fight might be.

The result is a film with such a high body count that I fear mathematical apparatus would struggle to keep up. Even though it goes on a touch too long (and you actually lose track of who you’re supposed to be hating a few times) Blade of the Immortal is just so brilliantly bonkers and the fight sequences are just off-the-scale insane that you forgive it its weaknesses.

Wildly entertaining and bloody fun – if your idea of fun is a couple of hours of insane sword fights…

Blade of the Immortal opens in the UK on 9th December 2017.

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