LA was just starting it's heatwave as the last act, the final film of Eiga Fest 2014 went on the big screen. Fans were excited to see their red-headed, X on his cheek, Samurai swordsman on in theater again. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, a sequel in a series fans of Eiga Fest have been waiting to see since 2012 made his triumphant return with amazing choreographed swordsmanship and fights as Kyoto is set ablaze. Takeru Satoh, who plays the always melancholy warrior, fits perfectly back into his role of a man who’s drawn back into a fight when all he wants is piece.
The closing night didn’t go as smoothly as a cut from Kenshin’s reverse blade. Eiga Fest in its fourth year still has some screw ups such as the night's repeat of commercials before the movie was played three times. Yakult Probiotic is good in a single serving, you don’t need to down a case and seeing its commercial again and again was like that for my eyes.
Our heroic hero Kenshin, known in his past as “Battosai the Killer”, takes up his sword again to battle a new villain Makoto Shishio played by Tatsuya Fujiwara. Shishio a brutal assassin was betrayed by the new government of 19th century Japan and burned alive, but survived. Now he wants revenge and plans on taking down the new government and systemically has been doing so with an army of his own. The new government asks for Kenshin’s help sending him on his way to Kyoto to confront Shishio and stop a plot to burn Kyoto to the ground.
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno though filled with some intense action scenes and the birth of a powerful set of enemies is a mid-way point film. Kyoto Inferno was made at the same time as the finale movie in the trilogy that just came out this month in Japan. They were released a month a part. It sets up for a major showdown with powerful enemies, The Great Ten of Shishio, a battle with Shishio himself and a powerful an insane ninja, Shinomori Aoshi played by Yūsuke Iseya.
The film is at its best with perfectly performed and highly intense fights. Kenshin’s sword play against multiple enemies and a fight between him and Sawagejō Chō, The Sword Collector, played by Ryosuke Miura were masterful. The speed and skill that was shown, just like in the first film, was truly eye-opening. Shinomori Aoshi’s fight with his master was a no holds brawled ninja on ninja beat-down that more films need to emulate in skill.
The rest of the film, though shot masterfully, is a drag. Long segments of time are spent building up to such fights or previews of what’s to come in the next movie. The film does work, we at TTDILA now want to see the third film more than ever and hope it won’t be a year from now at the next Eiga Fest.
|Takeru Satoh gives fans a message|