Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin – The Legend Ends
I watched the film last night with a couple of friends. I’ll try to keep this short but sweet as to avoid spoilers.
The third and final installment in the Rurouni Kenshin movies picks up where the last film left off. As far as hype and expectations were concerned, the last film received probably triple the amount as compared to its amazing predecessor. The last film was expected to cover the legendary fight scenes of the Juppon Gatana, whom if I may add lacked screen time, and of course the big reveal of Kenshin’s ultimate technique.
What I really liked about the film:
Without comparing it to Kyoto Inferno, the film itself does an amazing job of performing the stunts right out of the fan’s imaginations. For years, fans have only seen those amazing sword styles in manga and the closest to a real thing was the anime version which by performed the styles with probably impossible physics. The movie, as it tries to bring the magic to the real world, has splendidly did very well on this part. From the characters right down to the very essence of the fight itself, the movie did not disappoint me in terms of trying to match the animated series. In fact, the movie performed some of the most famous move sets without announcing them, move sets that were only visible to real fans. One of my favorite scenes was when Kenshin used the Kuzuryusen against Aoshi. It was unreal and godly.
The character build up was also something to behold. While trying to squeeze the entire season in two movies is no easy task, the movie does it with good character improvisation and a bit of story manipulating without sacrificing the movie’s main plot points. Sure enough, most fans would hate the producers for this but I think that these fans would do better to appreciate an attempt, and quite a grand attempt at that, to mimic the series as close to reality as the physics of our world would allow it.
And of course, the final scene between Kenshin, Sano, Saito, and Aoshi vs Shishio. It was the movie’s most glorius fight scene in which the producers clearly depicted Shishio as a fighting god. One of my favorite about this one scene alone is how Sano would keep on getting in the way despite clearly delivering almost no fatal blows against Shishio. I also applaud the way Shishio uses his flame techniques efficiently as seen when he grabbed a bit of gunpowder and used it to slash with a cannon-like explosion at the same time, sending the heroes down to the trash heap. The ultimate technique was simple but enough although I wished they had a bit of slow-mo use there to capture the moment. A big plus on focusing on Kenshin’s second step right before the slash.
What I didn’t like:
A few things to notice. First and foremost, the subs were too clean. I’ve been immersed in Japanese culture for so many years to know that certain words and sentences were cleanly translated to ensure a R-13 rating all over the world. I don’t mind cleaning the subs but what these translators don’t know that some of the words they omitted were essential to the story development and the character’s view on the fight i.e. Shishio’s calling Kenshin “senpai” or senior. It’s a known fact that when Kenshin retired, Shishio took his place and in Japan, to call someone senpai is a sign of respect but in Shishio’s case it was a form of mockery.
Another one to name is the lack of gravity in the character development of some of the main characters particularly Sojiro Seta. I’m not asking much here but I’m pretty sure it would take more than a few quotes from Kenshin to send the emotionally restrained Sojiro into a tantrum fit. I gravely felt that it was badly executed to the point of being exaggerated. I really wished they’ve spent more time on developing the main villains before they beat them.
Speaking main villains, my one true disappointment was how my favorite Saito Hajime didn’t even get the chance to shine in his own boss fight against Usui. I mean, come on! Of course Sano get’s his fight but not Saito?! I was like “Yes, my dream fight of the most bad ass character in the series” then a few seconds later “That’s it?! WHAT THE FUCK?!” I would’ve understood how most of the Juppon Gatana’s scenes were cut short or how most were killed off in very insignificant fight scenes but to end Saito’s fight in an instant was just too much haste in my case.
Overall rating: 7/10
The movie is very good and is very watchable. The only flaw it had was how it was hyped up beyond the producer’s imagination. With being hyped up in the score sheets, the second film definitely delivered it better than the conclusion but on equal, unbiased, and “unhyped” terms, the final film is a great conclusion to the trilogy.