Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Film Review: Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2014)

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (Review)
Japan/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Deltamac HK)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

 "...slick, wall-to-wall, edge-of-your-seat battles around every corner. "

While Shishio Makato's (Tatsuya Fujiwara) warship heads towards Tokyo, Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh) trains with his old master to learn his final technique...

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends picks up right where Kyoto Inferno ended. It begins with Kenshin's old master conveniently finding Kenshin washed up on a shore. Kenshin begins training with his old master until he learns his final technique, which he'll need to defeat Shishio. Meanwhile, Shishio continues on his path to overthrowing the government. Also, Aoshi, captain of the Watchers, continues his hunt for Kenshin. Although it's a little less full than the previous installment, The Legend Ends leads to an action-packed climax and satisfying ending.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is another fantastic installment in the series. I can gush over this film's immersive world, lively characters, and ferocious action all day. I was seated and excited for the entire runtime -- and this is a lengthy one! Swordplay is engaging and ferocious, like the previous installments. This film has a few better fights, though, especially towards the end. If you're a fan of the Rurouni Kenshin swordplay, the climax alone is worth the price of admission -- slick, wall-to-wall, edge-of-your-seat battles around every corner.

With that said, I think Kyoto Inferno was the better film. The Legend Ends, despite only five minutes less in runtime, feels slimmer than Kyoto Inferno. It also feels a little less balanced and a little more contrived. Furthermore, I'm kind of half-and-half on the characters. On one hand, we didn't receive the extra background information on The Ten Swords or Shishio, like I hope for in my Kyoto Inferno review. On the other hand, we did learn more about Rurouni Kenshin. All-in-all, I don't think Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is a bad film, not at all, I simply think it's one notch below Kyoto Inferno.

The acting was a little more emotionally-effective this time around, though. Takeru Satoh was born for the titular role. Tatsuya Fujiwara gets to shine as the ruthless villain, as well. The film looks beautiful thanks to the splendid cinematography. The camerawork is as engaging and agile as ever, in turn effectively capturing the slick action. I've always loved the Rurouni Kenshin soundtrack, the music is epic. The action choreography is impressive; I can't say this enough, the swordplay is ridiculous -- in a good way! Director Keishi Ōtomo once again crafts a vibrant world with superb action and great performances.

Overall, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is a fantastic film. In some aspects, it is a little underwhelming and disappointing -- I have to emphasize 'a little'. At the same time, The Legend Ends feels like a satisfying conclusion to an excellent action series. On the point of action, it'll be difficult to find a better action film in the past decade. Rurouni Kenshin excels in its swordplay, even with a few story shortcomings. If you're a fan of this film series, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is worth the price of admission and more.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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