Vengeance Never Dies.
Prolific Japanese director Takeshi Miike’s 100th feature film, Blade of the Immortal, is a blood-soaked samurai epic with a body count that will have faint hearts blanching. Indeed, the film’s black-and-white prologue has barely started before Takuya Kimura’s hero, a samurai in feudal Japan, has dispatched a hundred foes, whereupon a witch curses him with immortality. Fifty years later the weary fighter finds a purpose to his endless existence when he becomes the protector of a vengeance-seeking young girl who is the spit of his long-dead sister (both played by Hana Sugisaki).
You’ll find echoes here of Highlander, Léon, Logan and countless samurai adventures (the film’s actual source is a manga novel). But Miike brings his own distinct sensibility to the limb-lopping mayhem. True, the film’s episodic pace flags once or twice, but Miike usually drops in some wry humour to keep us engaged until the next bout of bloodletting.
Certificate 18. Rutime 141 mins. Director Takashi Miike
Blade of the Immortal (Mugen no jûnin) available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Arrow Video.