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Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends


Stars: Takeru Satô, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Masaharo Fukuyama, Yû Aoi, Min Tanaka, Emi Takei, Lisa Ulliel

Director: Keishi Ohtomo

Aieee! With such banshee wails, Japanese swordsmen launch themselves lethally at each other in the third part of the Manga-based trilogy that owes as much to the spaghetti western as it does to Japanese origins.

It's appropriately the 1860s and, as the American Civil War is ending, a war of a very different kind is nearing its climax on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

Wandering Meiji swordsman Kenshin (the Mick Jagger-lipped Satô) has escaped from the deranged, horrendously burned Shishio (Fujiwara) and returns to his old mentor (Fukuyama) to learn the secret of defeating an enemy who plans to throw all Japan into chaos.

'Even if it kills me,' gasps Kenshin, 'I must learn the ultimate technique.'

As Shishio sets sail in his ironclad to bring the country to its knees, Kenshin faces enemies from government and independent sources alike who threaten his plans for revenge.

There's lots of spectacular samurai-style action, as you'd expect, but much of it is too frenetically edited (and drawn-out) to be all that exciting. Most of the cast emote fiercely (it's called over-acting, guys) throughout, with the villain's henchman particularly ludicrous.

Japanese mid-combat cries of 'That won't work' and "You're in the way' probably had more impact in their native language. Even so, none of this, with a villain straight out of a James Bond movie, is remotely believable.

David Quinlan

Japan 2014. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour (unspecified).
135 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Apr 2015