Almost as if it is reaching 60 mph and immediately stalling on a recurring loop

Being an incredibly long Japanese Samurai movie, Blade Of The Immortal features a huge number of fight sequences. Each one feeling infinitely longer than the last, as it motors through its very simplistic plotline. There is obviously a hefty audience for this style of film, especially in Japan, but it’s impact outside of that community is not the easiest sell.

Killed in battle after witnessing the death of his sister, Manji (Takuya Kimura) is reborn as an immortal warrior, destined to complete a quest he does not know of. After a 40 year wait, the warrior is faced with taking up his mission, but that is only if his potential comrade can convince him to leave his house.

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The fight scenes are impressive, bursting onto screen regularly offering harsh changes of pace, but their sheer length is tiring and unengaging. And with a weak sense of drama behind it, Blade Of The Immortal often struggles with momentum. Almost as if it is reaching 60 mph and immediately stalling on a recurring loop.

There is obviously a focus on the fighting element of the picture, but this does not mean that the rest of the film can be left behind as if it didn’t matter. It’s hard to judge how strong most of the performances are with it being so reliant on Japanese style and culture, and this is in no way is a bad thing but does make it harder to succeed with a worldwide audience.

Blade Of The Immortal is a very specialist film with major flaws and a never-ending runtime. It has so much to teach, yet it does not understand how to get that message across.

2/5

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