Blade of the immortal is the brand-new action epic by legendary Japanese director, Takashi Miike. Originally a Manga by Hiroaki Samura, Miike has bought this hyper-violent and irreverent series to the big screen with gusto!
Blade of the Immortal is a movie about revenge, the avatar of which is Manji, portrayed by Takuya Kimura. His master tricks Manji into killing innocent men. To atone for this heinous act, he murders his superiors and their men in a blind rage.
One thing Manji neglected to take into account was that one of those guards was his sister’s husband. Bounty hunters are sent for Manji's head, killing his sister, Machi, in the process. After an unholy orgy of blood and flying limbs, Manji, who is on the edge of death, is approached by a mysterious old lady, who grants him immortality with magical ‘bloodworms’. But it turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing. Manji is forced to roam the earth killing bad-dudes in search of salvation.
And that is just the opening! The rest of the movie is about Rin, played brilliantly by Hana Sugisaki. Her father is murdered by the Itto-Ryu, a fencing cult led by the androgynous killer, Kagehisa Anotsu (Sota Fukushi). She recruits Manji to help her get revenge. She also bears an uncanny resemblance to Machi…
I have never read the manga or seen the anime, so I can’t compare, but the movie is Miike at his best. Think 13 Assassins on steroids. Although it doesn’t have the gravitas of 13 Assassins, it has more comedy, more heart and way more over the top action. Manji’s battles against the Itto-Ryu's rogues gallery are all top-notch action cinema - with some of the most visceral and bloody sword-combat I have seen in a movie - the sheer number of dudes that are sent to the land of wind and ghosts is staggering.
But it’s not just the action that makes this movie such a joy to watch, the performances by all the major characters are spot on, especially Hana Sugisaki, who brings genuine heart with her gutsy portrayal of Rin.
Sadly, nothing is perfect. The movie does blip a little with the introduction of Shira, a member of a mercenary group. His involvement and subsequent scenes felt muddled and rushed, so the connection and intention of this character and his scenes were lost on me.
None of this diminishes the film considerably, however. Blade of the Immortal is a must-see for fans of Miike Takashi, especially those who love 13 Assassins. In fact, Blade of the Immortal is a must-see for any fan of action cinema, flying limbs, litres of blood and the ancient art of badassery.