Kenshin Himura goes up against pure evil Makoto Shishio who is attempting to overthrow the Meiji government. The fate of the country hangs in the balance as Kenshin Himura takes up the sword that he vowed to never draw again.
Director: Keishi Ohtomo
Writers: Nobuhiro Watsuki (manga), Kiyomi Fujii (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Stars: Takeru Satô, Emi Takei, Tatsuya Fujiwara | See full cast and crew »
Makoto, an assassin who once was contracted by the government, has since become obsessed with tearing it down. Formerly, Kenshin was mainly concerned with protecting Kaoru,
but the stakes are now higher as he struggles to protect the nation itself. Written by Carl Lepeltier
Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno Movie Reviews
When I watch Japanese movies about samurais, ronins and ninjas, swordplay and kungfu are never the reason. Japanese sword fighting just CMI - it starts with a physical pose, one powerful swipe and the man is down and forever out. How interesting can that be? But the Japanese puts more effort into the foreplay and the aftermath of the fights. The motivation for the fight and the consequence are always examined in keen details. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno does that as well and I am glad to add that it ups the ante on the sword fights.
My knowledge of the universe of Rurouni Kenshin is pathetic. I have only watched an episode of the anime and decided it wasn't my thing, but I do know it is a cult series and a pop culture phenomenon. I also missed the earlier 2012 film. So I really went into this like a blind Zatoichi samurai film lover and I just love it, all 139 minutes of it.
First of all, this is the first part of a two parter. It feels like an elaborate setup for the ultimate Battle Royale and I am so hyped for the last part now. Thank goodness it will hit our cinemas on 2nd October. Is this a complete film by itself? No, but it works like a Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back kind of way.
I know a lot of the critics' complaints are centered on which aspects - too long, too many characters, too much info to digest, and the pacing is not furious enough. To some extent I do see where the complaints come from but I really didn't mind the duration. For a layman like me, I feel the director, Keishi Ohtomo told his story with great clarity, perhaps even too much clarity. It does feel over-written especially if you already know the world of Kenshin. All the characters' motivations are clearly depicted. There are indeed a myriad of characters on screen but I never have a feeling they are under-developed to the point of detriment. Perhaps the only relationship I feel suffered is the love between Kaoru and Kenshin. Wished I had seen more of that because she looks great.
There is quite a bit of exposition of past events but IMO these scenes didn't feel tagged on for people who wandered into the cinema knowing nothing of the back stories. I think Ohtomo was trying to cater to two camps of movie patrons - the fans and the curious ones like me and the wifey. With regards to the pacing, I thought Ohtomo handled it well. When things start to sag, a fight scene comes in. I absolutely love the exhilarating fight choreography and I am sure I have not seen anything like this in Japanese samurai films.
For a movie that is about a cult manga, the titular characters all look and behave exactly like their manga counterparts. The clothes, intricate set designs and modern soundtrack, all tied in together for a sumptuous feast. I know I did miss out on some manga/anime references because the boisterous crowd last night was full on hyped up and laughing away. For a movie that is one week old the 90% crowd last night was superb. Finally, talking about boisterous audience, there were two PRC girls sitting in front of us. At the final scene where yet a new character is introduced, the two girls screamed their heads off and arms gesticulated everywhere. I looked at my wife feeling amused by their antics. Later on she told me who is the actor and I 'screamed' and 'flailed' my arms. It is Masaharu Fukuyama, but I know him better as Professor Yukawa of Galileo and Suspect X fame.