Saturday, 18 February 2012
SAMURAI WARRIOR (2012)
Directed by: Kenichiro Nishiumi
Starring: Yuma Ishigaki, Suzunosuke, Kengo Oguchi, Sorami Iguchi, Hidekazu Ichise
Another cheap but cheerful samurai flick from Japan that is a breezy 60 minutes of entertainment with enough sword swinging action to pass the time nicely. Much more of a knockabout comedy/adventure than a full bloodied samurai action film, Samurai Warrior is easy going, gently comedic and has a couple of nifty (if not ground breaking) bouts of action to sate Chanbara fans. Ryu and his motley bunch of wannabe fighters are a gang known across the land as “Evil Little Devils.” These little devils are groups of youngsters who brawl with each other vying for the mock right’s to each others villages: basically they get together in fields to fight and whoever wins gets the other group’s flag (a bit like paintball!) and bragging rights. These groups of lads have dreams of being warriors like their father’s and superiors who are all off fighting in real wars. With plans to beat their neighbouring village rivals in an upcoming brawl, Ryu and his crew soon find they have more to contend with than they bargained for with said rival gang getting their hands on a gun and recruiting a samurai warrior who is in fact a deadly killer and has seen real action. Suddenly, this shit got real.
With its laidback approach, romantic subplot and the fact the heroes are just a few likely lads playing at samurai this is more I Was a Teenage Samurai than Samurai Warrior: a title that promises mucho hardcore samurai action. Instead we get an enjoyable romp that’s an easy watch with a little bit of sword fighting, a sweet romantic subplot and a surprising amount of smutty comedy (!). The leads are likable enough and the bad guys are suitably over-the-top with everyone shouting loudly and mugging it up at regular intervals. Director Kenichiro Nishiumi, a former assistant director to the great Takashi Miike, leaves the gore, seediness and excessive violence that often comes with tougher samurai flicks behind (some may be disappointed by this) and instead shoots his film with little fuss, a little fun and towards the end, a little action. When the real samurai does show up (he should have been in film more!) we get a cool little sword fight between him and the hero.
Short, sweet and samurai light, Samurai Warrior is a chilled hour of action entertainment best watched as a warm up before settling in to watch some superior samurai action such as 13 Assassins.