Rurouni Kenshin, Japanese movie (2012)

Japanese manga are very popular, and as such there are a lot of those that are being adapted for the big screen. Even Hollywood is trying it’s hand at these, as filming is currently underway on Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson. Some of these are very good adaptations, but there also a couple that truly are not worth your time, and are an obvious attempt to lure fans of the original sourcematerial to the cinema. Luckily Rurouni Kenshin is a very enjoyable movie, but having not yet read the manga I don’t know if it truly manages to capture the spirit of the graphic novel.

Rurouni Kenshin takes place in 18th century Japan. The assassin known only as “Battousai” leaves a trail of bodies behind, in service of the Imperial side, during the Bakumatsu war. At the end of the war, he comes to his senses and vows to never kill again.  The swordsman leaves behind his former life, and travels through Japan as the wandering samurai Kenshin. Ten years later he has to confront his past, as someone using his former assassin name, is killing people in Tokyo. Kenshin uncovers a diabolical plot conceived by the druglord Kanryuu Takeda, who wants to distribute a new type of opium across Japan. Haunted by his past, and bound by his oath to never kill again, Kenshin will need all his skills to protect the innocent. But will the sins of his past catch up to him?

This movie is the first installment of a trilogy of movies around the lone samurai Kenshin Himura. It is obviously a big budget movie, judging by the big set pieces and fantastic costumes. The swordfights in this movie are absolutely breathtaking, and especially if you like samurai movies, you will not be disappointed by these. The actors portray the characters in a believable way, and most of the dialogue is very enjoyable. Big action sequences are alternated by a few quiet scenes, but even though the movie is over 2 hours long, I was not bored by it for even one second. All in all this was a very enjoyable samurai/fantasy movie that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys historical or fantasy type movies.

I give this movie a 9 out of 10 score.

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