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Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

 
 
Film Information
 

Plot: Kenshin Himura goes up against pure evil Makoto Shishio who is attempting to overthrow the Meiji government. The fate of the country hangs in the balance as Kenshin Himura takes up the sword that he vowed to never draw again.
Release Date: 28th November 2014
Director(s): Keishi Otomo
Cast: Takeru Satô, Emi Takei, Munetaka Aoki, Yû Aoi, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Yûsuke Iseya
BBFC Certificate: 15
Running Time: 138
Country Of Origin: Japan
Language: Japanese w. English subtitles
Review By: James Hay
Film Genre: , ,
 
Film Rating
 
 
 
 
 
3/ 5


 

Bottom Line


Although opening with a visually rich and compelling hook to this next chapter in Rurouni Kenshin's story, it does feel like something is missing. But then maybe all will become clear in the concluding part...


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Posted November 28, 2014 by

 
Film Review
 
 

Picking up where the first film left off, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno finds our hero Kenshin (aka Battosai the Killer) happily domesticated with his friends Sanosuke, Kaoru and rescued opium siren Megumi. All is well in this makeshift family. Until, that is, the emergence of a new enemy, the emotionally and physically scarred Shishio – a fellow assassin left for dead after the end of the Shogunate/Emperor war but returned to the world of the living with almost supernaturally evil intentions. Throw in a rather peripheral and arguably under used character, Aoshi, who is hell bent on killing the legendary Battosai, and you’ve got the full house of players for this entertaining if somewhat confused sequel.

But then it is based on the hugely successful manga from Japan, written by Nobuhiro Watsuki, and so has both its audience and source material to consider. Judging by the box office result in its home land then maybe director Keishi Otomo might just have got it right again.

It’s still filled with all the gorgeous period touches, immaculate attention to detail in costume and design, rather splendid action choreography and all captured with the same considerable craft as last time by cinematographer Takuro Ishizaka.

Takeru Satô reprises the titular role with the same conflicted intent, the shamed former killer sworn to a life of non violence, at times lurching unrecognisably then swaggering like a prize peacock through the story. He is both the darkly powerful Battosai and perfect high school pin-up Kenshin; effeminate but utterly deadly with it. Similar in theme to the first film, and obviously a constant, Kenshin’s refusal to kill is put to the toughest test, not least because he’s almost uniquely gifted at it. Only almost though, as this time around we meet characters who are potential matches for our Kenshin, dethroning him as untouchable, which only serves to draw us more into his corner. We like nothing more than rooting for the underdog.

Although opening with a visually rich and compelling hook to this next chapter in Rurouni Kenshin’s story, taking us through its pages with class, gusto and undeniably pretty pictures, never seeming long despite its near two and a half hour run time, it does feel like something is missing. But then maybe all will become clear in the concluding part…


James Hay - Cinema Editor

 


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