Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

I went into the cinema with one ear partially deaf, I came out with both ears partially deaf!

They just don't die!
Title: るろうに剣心:伝説の最期編 (Rurouni Kenshin: Densetsu no Saigo Hen)

What is it about: The continuation of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno where Kenshin and Shishio finally get the chance to settle stuffs.

Review: This... This is one movie where after you watched it (even though it's two and a  half hours long), you will want MORE!!!

Having watched an untold number of American films and a few Chinese films (no racism intended), the first thing that I noticed immediately after watching this movie is how Japanese it feels. Firstly, it's apparent to me that even a movie as epic as this one would actually take its time to slowly develop the characters and storyline, hence the long run time. However, that is something I really appreciate. Also, you'll notice the care that the makers of this movie has for the audiences. They realize there are some people out there who didn't actually watch the first movie and/or Kyoto Inferno (for example, because the movie only released for like two weeks in my local cinema and many people didn't get the chance to watch it!!!), there are attempts made give those audiences some back story so that they won't be completely lost, without actually jeopardizing the interest of those who has watched the past movies by having too much flashbacks. However, if you are one of those who watched the previous movies, you'll notice how similar this movie really is to the first... The dojo fight, the Sanosuke fist fight, the Gatling gun, ring a bell?

Most of the plots of this movie is taken care of in Kyoto Inferno. Therefore, this movie is pretty much the wrap up of Kyoto Inferno with loads and loads of fight scenes. Guys are really going to love this movie. Speaking of guys, this movie is so packed with action that there's barely any important female roles in it (no sexism intended). Kaoru for example, is pretty much not seen in the entire movie. The newly introduced Misao appeared in several scenes but does nothing particularly important. The entire movie is about politics, warfare and nothing else, and it's brutally good! I'm a guy and I do enjoy seeing pretty girls in a movie. However, this movie is all about the adrenaline and not so much the oxytocin (If you get what I mean). Everything builds up to prepare all the characters for one last brutal showdown with Shishio, and you won't be disappointed. The final fight scene in this movie is one of the best I've ever watched, especially the part where Kenshin unleashes on Shishio his newly-mastered ultimate form of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu Battoujutsu, Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki or Flash of the Heavenly Flying Dragon. By the way, he wasn't kidding about the flying part.

As for the characters of this movie, well, they are pretty much the same as Kyoto Inferno. The movie did a great job in character development, but I wished there were more. I felt that there are certain characters are slightly underdeveloped. But hey, this movie is no longer about character development. It's about character extermination. I guess the only new character that is introduced here is Kenshin's master. Do you wanna know why the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu is so powerful? That's because Kenshin's master is none other than the genius physics associate professor in Teito University:

No, I'm serious...

In the end, physics always win even when going against a sword which breaths fire. Okay, I'm just kidding. That was the professor from the movie Suspect X, otherwise known as Yougisha Ekkusu no Kenshin. Wait a minute, maybe it wasn't a joke after all! You can read my review of Suspect X here.

Alright, back to Rurouni Kenshin. I hereby pronounce this movie the best movie I've ever watched in the cinema, ever. This movie isn't perfect, but I feel completely drawn into it, and I wanted MORE!!! Oh the adrenaline...

 / 10

P.S.: Wanna know a reason why this movie and the previous one is so exciting? Check out this YouTube video =)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

FINALLY!!! I finally got to watch this movie after a month of excruciating wait, which almost made me did some crazy stuffs while waiting. This movie (and its sequel) came out about a month ago in Japan and almost everywhere else in Asia except my home country in Malaysia. I gave Malaysia the benefit of doubt as I waited because there was a source saying that the release date is to be announced. However, after several weeks, I was quite confident that this movie will not be released in Malaysia. I actually planned to go all the way to Singapore just to watch this movie. Unfortunately, some stuffs happened and I didn't managed to go to Singapore. I was quite sad actually. I would not settle for watching this movie on home video. I must watch it on the big screen no matter what. Fortunately however, I found out that this movie in fact will be releasing in my local cinemas pretty soon. And so I continue to wait and wait and wait...

So here it is finally! The movie that I anticipated the most... And I love it! ^^

The law of insignificant villains states that
the greater the number of bad guys, the more insignificant
and more useless they are.
Title: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika Hen

What is it about: War and revenge, and also about Himura Battousai of course! XD

Review: Firstly, I'll be the first to admit that this movie isn't everyone's cup of tea. If you haven't already know, this movie is actually a sequel to a Rurouni Kenshin movie back in 2012. Unlike the first movie, this movie is much more elaborate and complex. Just a recap, the first movie talks about the war that brought about the peaceful Meiji era (Search up Battle of Toba-Fushimi if you care about history), how the Hitokiri Battousai became a Rurouni, etc. Yeah, I know your head is starting to spin from all those Japanese jargon. Basically, it's about how Kenshin retire from being an assassin to become a wanderer. The story also tells of how Kenshin and Kaoru met and stuffs like that. I'm pretty sure you know who they are and what's happening. In the first movie, the villains are simply some ex-samurai who doesn't enjoy the peaceful era. In the latest movie however, things aren't so simple. As a result, this movie is almost 2 and a half hours long, and it's only the first part. Another sequel which is a direct continuation of this movie is releasing soon (in my terribly slowpoke country. You've watched it already, so spoilers please! >.<).

So, what is this movie about? While the first movie is pretty straight-to-the-point, it's not so much the case in this movie. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno takes its time to slowly and carefully develop the storyline and the many characters it introduces. As a result, the characters in this movie talks more than they fight. That's not necessary a bad thing however. Being a Rurouni Kenshin movie, when they do fight, it's pretty damn good! I don't want to give out too much of a spoiler just in case there are people who hasn't got the chance to watch it yet, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno basically talks about an evil samurai's plan to overthrow the Meiji government and take over the whole of Japan. What makes it different from the first movie is that in the first, Kenshin is to stop a few samurai from causing a havoc. In this however, Kenshin is downright going for war. In Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, there are loads of war plotting and battle of wits. Sometimes, brainfights can be just as interesting as swordfights.

Before we proceed, there are some characters that you'll need to know amidst the many new characters introduced. To most important one being Shishio Makoto the main villain of this movie. Don't worry, I won't spoil the story for you, but what you must know is that Shishio is a really evil, intelligent, cunning, ruthless and powerful guy both in terms of strength and political power. Just imagine, this one guy with his fleet of samurai, waging war against the whole country. He did managed to control some parts of Japan, destroying many villages in the process. He even managed to push the government to desperation to the point that they have no choice but to put Japan's fate in the hands on Himura Kenshin. Yeah, hes really bad. The point that I wanted to make is that he's so bad and Himura Kenshin is having such a tough time dealing with Shishio that they won't be fighting each other in this movie. Like in a video game, Kenshin has not reached the final boss yet. Yes, in the whole 2 and a half hours, Kenshin and Shishio has never fought even once. Kenshin is merely trying to do some damage control protecting some people and fighting some of Shishio's men while trying to outwit Shishio's strategies. That said, if you are the type of people who enjoys storytelling, this movie is not necessarily bad. In fact, its far from bad. This movie is really really good. One of the things I really enjoyed in this movie is its sense of adventure, as though you are playing a Japanese role-play game. However, if you are the type who watches this movie solely for the action, well, there are much to be offered, but you'll have to wait for them.

To conclude, this is one of the best movies I've watched in the cinema. Maybe it's the fanboy in me that's screaming, but it definitely is worth your time and money. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno isn't exactly a perfect movie and watching it may require some patience and appreciation of story development so to speak, but it's most certainly movie of the year. I believe the sequel is going to be much more exciting than this. This movie did end in a cliffhanger with quite a few unanswered questions, and the suspense is really great. I guess they are done chasing each other in this movie. In the next, they are going for the kill. Good thing the next movie is only two weeks apart from the first. Otherwise, the suspense would have killed me like Shishio would. These two movies (in fact, all three Rurouni Kenshin movies) are definitely worth your investments. Just one thing though, try not to watch this movie in midnight like I did. You'll probably need to struggle a bit to stay awake because this movie does require your mind to process it. But hey, there's Kaoru! XD

Rating: 9.5/10