I consumed Takashi Miike’s live action adaptation of Hiroaki Samura’s manga, ‘Blade Of The Immortal’ during a packed screening in Cannes. Miike enjoys one of the largest cult followings for his extreme moviemaking. Nobody has been generating the kind of daring, original and larger-than-life cinema for as long as, in such frequency.
His ‘Audition’ is one of my favourite films, containing one of the most disturbing ending scenes in all of cinema. I can’t walk by a piano without knowing what their strings could do to my legs!
Miike can get under your skin at the removal of a single limb, but he can also delight and excite you through the removal of hundreds of them. ‘Blade of the Immortal’ is a samurai hack ‘n slash treat from start to finish. Even running at around 2 1/2 hours, the time passes briskly.
We follow the story of Manji, who gets treated by a mysterious old woman with magical blood worms that can bring all his veins and tissue back together, healing himself after every battle, akin to Wolverine.
Manji gets hired as a protector to Rin, a young girl who reminds him of the bounty-hunters who killed his sister, Machi.
Because of the manga source material, we are treated to a colourful series of combatants for our protagonist. Each one more elaborate and stylised than the previous. The standout for me is a warrior with the heads of two dead people as shoulder pads.
The swordplay is shot very close-up and cut very swiftly, using come very satisfying and crunchy sound effects to give gravitas to all the carnage on screen. The wide shot used to reveal the damage done by our hero to hundreds of henchmen, lying in bits and pieces on the battlefield at the end of the fight scene became a hilarious punchline to the chaos, and much welcome comic relief.
‘Blade of the Immortal’ is yet another world class entry into Takashi Miike’s filmography, filled to the brim with graphic fantasy violence that will keep you entertained from beginning to end.