Sep 18, 2008

Samurai Reincarnation

Samurai Reincarnation is a film I had bought a while ago during a vacation in Philadelphia. I purchased it solely based on the tag line which excited my over-active imagination "When a Samurai seeks Revenge, It's HELL!". Similar to Michele Soavi's The Church, the film opens with the brutal slaughtering of thousands of good Christian people. These spirits, full of hatred, are led by a single evil entity to revolt against their oppressors and humanity as a whole.

Sonny Chiba sort of stars in this action fantasy film directed by Kinji Fukasaku (The man behind Battle Royale and its sequel before his death caused by Terminal Cancer). From what I've seen of his films, Samurai Reincarnation really shows in its old age. This film is under-produced, under-directed, and features some of the worst action choreography I've ever seen for a Samurai film.

It's nice to see an original Samurai vision that isn't an explicit cultural gang bang like the inconsequentially long collection of Kurosawa films. Each little film getting an approved Criterion release that no one should bother with. Justly my opinion, I find Criterion to be ass-grabbing with Kurosawa on such an extreme plane that I find it revolting.

It's a problem when you have an accomplished action star and a worthy actor only to use him for child's play. Sonny Chiba maybe has 3 battle scenes. Each run under a minute in length and are extremely laughable. If our past ancestors were such horrible combatants, surely such a thing as world peace would be existent. This is Sonny Chiba's worst performance and for no fault of his own. The plot is entirely jumbled populated only by characters that never stand for their own introduction. Random important historical figures appear with no exposition only to maim and kill.

It's verily galling to imagine a film from the director of Battle Royale to be so repellent. Not even the graceful presence of "JJ" Chiba could fore fend this film from the own hell it dares to mention. From featuring homosexual Christian samurai's and bouncing-talking heads, I cannot fathom what vile creation Fukasaku had in mind, but whatever it was, the outcome will always be Samurai Reincarnation.


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