Takashi Miike's 100th film at Cannes Film Festival

By Moira Sullivan

It was with great anticipation that the 100th film made by the Japanese master director Takashi Miike Blade of the Immortal would screen at a midnight showing at Cannes in May. Clearly making 100 films does not necessarily confirm that each will be of quality. In fact, for several years Takashi Miike has shown considerably less prowess than in his earlier films such as Audition, Zebraman, Ichi the Killer, Izo, Masters of Horror - films from seven to two decades ago.

Blade of the Immortal is based on a manga about a skilled Samurai warrior during the Edo era, Manji (Takuya Kimura) who becomes immortal after a legendary battle. During this epic event of bloodshed, his sister is brutally murdered. Manji decides to avenge her death by helping the young girl Rin Asano to avenge the death of her parents, a girl who looks much like his dead sister (played by the same actress (Hana Sugisaki). Rin’s parents were killed by the evil warrior Anotsu (Sôta Fukushi).
As immortal legends often do, Manji is doomed to fight the same battle over and over with Anotsu and save Rin in the process. Each time he fights, the scenario is changed but the battle only ends in the same dismal failure with what looks like thousands of warriors being killed over and over. They brandish not only double swords but katanas, spears, chains and axes but weapon diversity does no compensate for a senseless repetition of events. It makes Manji’s life as an immortal painfully boring.

It is equally tedious to see Rin in fight after fight not learn any new battle skills to assist Manji instead of cringing in the corner as the battle proceeds. This would have made Blade of the Immortal a more spectacular film, but martial art scenes with women seem taboo - even fantasies from the Edo era. Even if it does not match with the historical period, women samurai warriors are plentiful in Japanese history and this would have made the 100th film much better.

© 2017 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 06/21/17
Movie Magazine International