Beautiful Mayhem: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno

So. F*cking. Awesome.

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno brings high-octane sword-fighting action to a whole 'nother level.

I mean it. The biggest impression the movie left me was how well done fight scenes are. They're massive in scale, lighting-fast, powerful, and beautifully chaotic. This isn't just random hack-and-slash action, there's a dance within all the commotion.

Artistic Action

Aside from the sword fights, they even mix it up with a bit of hand to hand combats and frigging tonfas! Tonfas are the shit! (Especially Ninja Gandalf who uses it! NINJA GANDALF IS THE SHIT!)

Gandalf the Japanese

Speaking of which, let me talk about the characters. As my brother and I were watching, I couldn't help feeling that some of the characters (particularly, Cho) felt too outlandish to be in the movie. Cho felt stupid with all his villain-y laughs and large, quirky gestures. I wanted to smack that idiot and tell him to turn it down. But my brother disagreed and said that the anime version of the character was even MORE wacky and that this already WAS dialed down. I guess it just means that the more of a fan you are of the series, and the more familiar you are with the source material, the more tolerance you have to the cartoonishness of the characters. (I'm a semi-fan, know...In case you were wondering.)

Shishio got TPed.

Kooky characters or no, the movie still had some pretty notable performances. The actor who plays Kenshin is without a doubt, the best choice for the title character. Takeru Satoh IS Kenshin Himura! He effortlessly balances Kenshin's light-hearted spirit AND his brooding and blood-thirsty side. And Takeru's inhuman speed and agility is probably the closest you're ever going to get in translating Kenshin's fighting prowess to live-action. (He even makes posing look cool instead of cheesy!)

Takeru Satoh IS Kenshin Himura!

Also, Ninja Gandalf was the shit! His fight with Aoshi almost felt like THE climactic fight! It was some amazing, hard-hitting violence that I've come to love about this franchise!

My favorite fight: Aoshi VS. Ninja Gandalf

Aoshi and Sojiro were also some pretty interesting additions to the cast too. I have minor qualms about how young Shishio is and that Sanosuke was relegated to a thug-slash-chump, but nothing that takes away from the enjoyment I got from the film. (And why the hell does Sano and Yahiko never bathe or wash their clothes??)

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The Bad Boys

Kyoto Inferno is to be immediately followed by The Legend Ends, the third and final installment, this September. Knowing that, I expected the ending to be a major cliffhanger - the annoying, you-need-to-see-the-next-one-already kind. But fortunately, it didn't. There was enough story in this installment to fill your appetite. And as a credit to the writers, the multi-episode story arcs from the anime were carefully crafted and interwoven that the end result was a very coherent and comprehensive story and not once did it feel like they were picking up the pace to fit more story. 

Ample time for story, character development and exciting action scenes.

Kenshin has still got shit loads to deal with.

But admittedly, it's easier to follow if you already have a bit of background from the series as there were some heavy and wordy back-stories and some of them might just go over your head. There was also some room for more nipping and tucking here and there.

But this was probably due to the remarkable loyalty the makers of this movie had to the source material! The characters, the costumes and even the story is so loyal that I could hear some of the people in the cinema accurately predicting the next few scenes!

Not THAT'S loyalty to source material.

To make long stories short, Kyoto Inferno was like the first movie, with everything from the action, the acting, the plot and the flare, all being turned up a notch in a huge way. Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno opens tomorrow, Aug. 20. For fans of the series, it's a no-brainer. For non-fans, it's accessible enough and still an enjoyable movie to watch!


As a semi fan:
MICMIC RATING: 9/10 (for hardcore fans though, they'd probably round this up to 10)

PS. They were in the Philippines! (Wala lang.) 

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