Blade of the Immortal

Blade of the Immortal

(Mugen no Jûnin)
(2017)

To save her life he will take a thousand others.

The 100th film by Japanese master Takashi Miike is an irreverent and gory samurai film about a skilled warrior who attains immortality.... More

"Based on a popular manga and selected to screen at Cannes 2017, Blade of the Immortal is the story of Manji (Japanese heartthrob Takuya Kimura), a warrior who is cursed with immortality after a legendary battle. When his sister is killed, Manji takes brutal revenge on her killers. His own injuries are tended to by an 800-year-old nun, who also bestows upon Manji the power to self-heal. He finds himself unable to die until he has killed a very large number of evil men, and the scene is set for the bloody mayhem for which Miike is known and loved." (Sydney Film Festival)Hide

Flicks Review

Blade of the Immortal opens in media res, as Takuya Kimura’s samurai lays waste to his attackers. The sounds of steel and sliced flesh are familiar from Takashi Miike’s previous feudal epics 13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai. It’s shot in gorgeous black and white. There’s an unfortunate joke about a horse turd.... More

So far, so Miike. It gets even more so, culminating in an orgy of violence that feels like the climax of a different movie, before the colour is switched on and things get really crazy.

Kimura is cursed with ‘blood worms’ that inhabit his body and keep him alive by repairing his wounds. Tired of living a life of battle, he crosses paths with a young orphan played by Hana Sugisaki, and is drawn into her search for revenge.

Bearing the familiar hallmarks of a manga adaptation, the film sometimes feels like it’s having to hit specific beats or images that fans will recognise from the books. The fantastical elements are suitably cartoonish, but they’re set in a world that’s down to earth and grimy, and contains violence that’s very bloody.

Miike clearly relishes staging all this carnage, but he makes sure it has an impact. Contrary to the type of bloodless massacres that occur regularly in blockbuster filmmaking, every stab here hurts. And there’s lots of stabbing.

Unfortunately it starts to feel like a bit of a slog around the halfway point. Long stretches get pretty dreary, before some flamboyant assassin or other appears to liven things up.

In the end we may not care much about the central duo and their tortured quest. But there’s plenty to enjoy in the fight choreography, fantastic score by Kôji Endô, and Miike’s lovingly crafted tableaus of severed limbs and blood splatter.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • The new film is more irreverent than either of those earlier ones, and less memorable, though there are still pleasures to be had... Full Review

  • Miike is on fine form, never losing his sense of humour, or sense of character, even as yet another axe is embedded in yet another skull. Full Review

  • The veteran Japanese director’s 100th film concerns a warrior who is able to grow back his own limbs. It is undeniably gross, but also a lot of fun Full Review

  • The 100th feature by genre master Takashi Miike transcends conventions of Japanese swordplay films with both fantasy and graphic violence. Full Review

  • Miike retains his twisted sense of humour, with mangling and disemboweling deployed for comic effect. And after 99 movies, he certainly knows how to make action memorable. Full Review

  • Though not nearly as mindful or meaty as Mr. Miike's 2011 triumph, "13 Assassins," "Blade" is creatively gory fun. Full Review

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