Film Review: Rurouni Kenshin

ZYes, I realized that I’m a little bit late on this, but I finally watched the live action version of Rurouni Kenshin. This movie receives so many attentions that probably most of the reviewers would say this live action movie kick-asses. Now, you guys would probably hate me for this but this movie is not very perfect. In fact, I would go far to say that this movie is stumped in deciding to go with a movie that make sense or following the anime literally. Now, before I move on to the arguments, please be aware that this review has a little bit of spoilers in it since I have to make a case regarding my argument. If you haven’t watched this movie and you hate to be spoiled then I suggest you not to continue reading. Now, since we got that out the way, let’s start with the review.

So, what do I mean by that? If you watched the anime version of Rurouni Kenshin, you are bound to find a scene that are only make sense in the anime such as how high a normal person can jump. This movie, tries to implement the same element in the anime which makes this live version a little bit comical. Let’s give an example regarding the scene where Saitou Hajime confronts Kanryuu wielding a machine gun. Saitou puts his signature stance and skyrocketed to the ceiling and hits the chandelier and hits Kanryuu. This kind of scene reminds me of an old Chinese martial arts movie and to look at it in this day and age feels a little bit weird. Another example also involves Kenshin dashing so low yet so fast tackling hundreds of enemy seemingly defying any gravity and frictions.

However, there are also exaggerated action scene that works such as the scene where he is a hitokiri batousai and slashing hundreds of people so furiously. I was a bit worried about how the action will be when he is a Kenshin Himura with the reverse-sided blade but the film did a great job in making Kenshin Himura the boss of the fights. Although, I would say there should be an improvement on how fatal a blow to the stomach really is which brings me to another topic of discussion: special effects.

You know, for a movie that adapts an anime with lots of move name such as Kuzuryūsen, they didn’t execute it well. It’s just like a normal jump slash to me since there is no info that this is a specific move. I mean, you decided to go with an exaggerated action scene why not go all the way pampering the fans with saying the executed move or put some Kanji letters special effect to make it more glorious. It’s like now the director is concerned about making a sense? Hey, if you decided that a man can leap more than twice of his height and dashing as fast as a cheetah then stick with it. To me, the battle scene feels like it’s dragging too long. There is no novelty in fighting a new enemy.

Novelty? What do you mean? Well, to me a good fighting scene is you introduce a novel substance to the combat. For example, every enemy has his strength and weakness, this movie has the potential of using Kenshin inner monologue to define his combat prowess. What I meant is I was expecting Kenshin formulating a strategy to beat enemies and explain it to us. Instead, we get a mindless sword-clanking with random dodges and acrobatic jumps. It’s fun of course to see it, but it could be much more better. In the end, Kenshin does look like a boss in fights but too bad his intelligence doesn’t get exposed much because of the over-used mindless sword bashing. I’ll give it a 7 out of 10.

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3 responses to “Film Review: Rurouni Kenshin

  1. mmmm I cant agree with you, the movie obiously have flaws like the saito scene you mentioned, but overall the movie tries to implement the anime style to real world, ending in a strange balance, witch most of the time of the movie works.

    the movie is mostly oriented to the fanbase, but also trying to appeal to a more general audience, that’s why they took the chinese movie style like “flying sword of dragon gate” or “crouching tiger, hidden dragon”, while also trying to not abouse of those efects.

    when comes to kenshin been a tactician, you can clearly see that when he fights for exaple on the kamiya dojo atack, the thing is, trying to keep as fatefull as posible to the original source, and also fighting the time of the movie, they needed to wrap things up, especialy to give time to the exelent fight with Jinei.

    On the other hand, i think adding kanjis to kenshin or other characters skills would have been more dumb to the movie, there is no need to present the skill on with flashy titles, and i think the only one truly used was the ryu tsui sen, witch kenshin mentions, i think is more cool to present the technique after you deliver the blow like the movie insted of a flashy tittle.

    Personally, im glad they didnt over used the “chinese effects” because like the saito scene, they are kind of dumb, and look really silly, the other scenes were more tolerable, but that particular scene was bad.

    you said analisis of inner thoughs, you wanted something like the sherlock holmes movie? rurouni kenshin is about a killer that used speed to kill their opponents, kenshin have tactics, but he was no strategist.

    i really enjoyed the movie especially because is one of the few live actions that tries to balance the original sourse and adapting it to real actors, exited for the 2 new movies of the shishio arc!

    Have a nice year!

    PD: sorry for the bad english

    • No, not Sherlock but just a simple thing like this enemy weakness is low attack or something like that. Even when you are facing an enemy with guns, it’s just mindless dodging. Now, I’m not saying that’s bad because the fight scene is awesome but it just feels repetitive, you know?
      My point about the Kanji letters for move name display is just a sarcasm since they went for a chinese fighting movie style. And the scene where Sanosuke took a break from fighting? I mean, maybe in the anime works but it feels weird watching the live action version. But still, I agree with you, it’s still an enjoyable movie. At least, much much better than Dragon Ball Revolution or Tekken.

      Have a nice year to you too.

    • Come to think of it, maybe it was the acting issue. I don’t feel like the actors really sells their characters. It feels awkward with sometimes an over-the-top acting.

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