Watching Japanese films on a commercial theater is no longer only a privilege for the select few, culturally inclined nations. It is also no longer the realm of Film festivals, or so, something of a break from all of those badly cliché written Gay indie films putting tragedy for the sake of art. It looks like SM (Our nation’s Mall) has finally discovered on how make use of their Theater facilities that is often being the victim of piracy. Show films that people can not easily get anywhere. An audience that is very peculiar on the quality of their watching (Picture, not story) . Finally, put a ravage fanbase of die-hard Asian fans to watch their man of their dreams in full theater experience.
What This Film Is Aimed For
Let me break the review down in bits of tackling this film for our readers to know if it is worth giving Money to watch this film. Or the worth wait for having to endure long lines and a bunch of jeje otakus and Asian fanataic wannabees. The film in question is mainly designed to stimulate the fans of the hit classic that aired under the same vein as the like of Vash Stampeede. Rurouni Kenshin has been in streak of remakes this past few years, and the latest being the Cage of Eden, which is more fateful to the Manga series and not to disappoint the fans of the franchise.
This film is mostly aimed for people who caters in two sides of fandom. Those who like Hot Japanese actors playing role of their childhood Anime that they might not be a fan off. The film’s story is mostly center around the first parts of the series and one of the old OVAs, where the legendary Battousai is killing people, but so happens that the real deal is mainly wandering around the country, until met by our leading lady Kaoru. Then we also have hot stars with Sanosuke with his “little” sword and somewhat attention grabbing attire and Saito Hajime, former Shinshengumi enforcing the reign of, then budding Imperial Japan (By the way, Shinsengumi was not mentioned in the film), placed in the most GARing situation to display how “Cool” and smooth they are in slicing off helpless extras in the film. Mostly, the audience will find it a treat to see glorified samurai action, which is something the Japanese isn’t really known for. Particularly the display of Samurai having superhuman feat.
In short, the film is intended to get the fans of the genre feel at home, while making approachable to people who never seen a film that isn’t English. Thank the heavens that it is subtitled, or else I the lowness of the volume will make it hard to understand the story.
As I would expect with anything live action adaptations. The film is adjusted to suit the majority of audience. Those who had watched or familiar to the franchise and those who were dragged by their nerdy best friend to watch this film. The conflict is rather shallow, expected that the film, again, is based on the first few episodes of the Manga and Anime. Which isn’t really deep to begin with. The conflict, or rather the villians are in no means like those of the first few episodes, albeit, pretty dumb and stupid. Specially that haricut. Since he reminded me of one of the villains in Kung Fu Hustle way less cooler and rather dumb. The moral of the story revolves in Money can buy anything and you can’t escape what you are. Which I personally see the latter played well in this. The flashback scene with Kenshin gunning down some Imperial dogs during his side with the revolution is overstayed, but then that’s what Japanese tend on the focus of the warrior spirit.
One obvious element in the film that I find odd, is that the entire film is played as if it were a theater play. I watched a similar themed film about Samurais and I never got that vibe on it. The way the scenes are framed are like if the camera panned a bit more that what is intended, I might see a red curtain or someone lipsynching a dialog on the side of the stage.
Overall, despite my nitty-gritty critique on the film, I did enjoy for what it is. My expectations aren’t that high to begin with anyway. I do have a couple of experiences on watching Japanese live action adaptations and I am also expecting the same thing about it. Even so, I can recommend this to people who wants to “convert” someone in their life to the Japanese fandom to see this film and enjoy it. The film is clearly a gateway piece and a crash course introduction to Japanese history and film nuances and that any other film succeeding will not hurt them.
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