Home > Film, Reviews > DVD Review: Samurai Warrior – A Film By Kenichiro Nishiumi

DVD Review: Samurai Warrior – A Film By Kenichiro Nishiumi

A coming-of-age story about a boys journey into manhood!

Learning his trade from Takashi Mike as assistant director, Kenichiro Nishiumi directs this 65 minute martial arts action saga about brotherhood, masculinity and self-discovery during Japan’s Warring States Period.

Three young men, Ryu, Yonesuke and Gon, known collectively as ‘The Devils’, set out to have feudal battles with other like-minded gangs from surrounding villages to see who is the toughest. This they do to create a fearsome reputation for pride and honour, and to win the flags that they take from their foes that they keep as trophies. For each gang that they beat they cross it off from a list – a la Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, only no one gets killed, for the samurai swords they use are wooden!

Ryu is the son of a farmer and dreams of becoming a samurai warrior to make a name for himself. His father tried to do the same but died leaving his wife bitter. She is also frustrated at Ryu because he spends more time breaking the monotony of his agricultural chores by training himself in the art of swordsmanship. Ryu believes that by exchanging his wooden sword for a real one, and blooding it, he will become a man. To do so he must face his nemesis, Jojima, someone who has fort on a real battlefield. But Ryu’s over confidence could cost him his life.

(Courtesy of MVM Entertainment)

Samurai Warrior is shot among hilly terrain with scenic views of forests and mountains basked in sunshine, idyllic locations for such a small film. It has many light moments which stem from Ryu’s love interest, Oman. Ryu finds her alone in excruciating pain after being bitten by a pit viper. He saves her life by sucking out the poison while unceremoniously and greedily leeching at her before taking her back to his hide out. It’s clear that the Ryu has little or no experience with girls, reflecting his boyish innocence and uncertainty. Much of the humour involves Gon, the most simple-minded of the three youths. He’s a character similar to that of Joey from the hit TV sitcom Friends and oftentimes the foil and butt of the jokes.

(Courtesy of MVM Entertainment)

Being a low-budget film, the fight scenes do not look polished and choreographed like you would see in a more expensive epic production. However, this gives the fight sequences a certain realism, a loose fluidity and rhythm. When we look at the facial expressions of the two leads, they give the impression that the whole thing was done with a sense of earnestness and spontaneity.

(Courtesy of MVM Entertainment)

Although Samurai Warriors has a made-for-TV quality about it, the director does some interesting things with the camera, such as using Dutch angels on occasion – something that was often used in the 60’s TV series Batman and the British film classic The Third Man. Another striking shot of note was the way the camera filmed Ryu running; it gives the impression that the camera is somehow running alongside him – an old trick used in the cult 70’s TV series Monkey. Like Quentin Terantino, Kenichiro Nishiumi likes to have his influences clearly on his sleeve where everybody can see them.

(Courtesy of MVM Entertainment)

Although Samurai Warrior is a relatively enjoyable way to spend an hour – especially on a Sunday afternoon after a hearty meal where all you want to do is flake out on the sofa and unbutton your trousers – those most likely to appreciate this simple no-brains-required cheap flick would probably be type who finds the films of Seiji Chiba entertaining, regardless of their repetitiveness.

Label: MVM Entertainment

Release date: 27th Februsry 2012

Certificate: 12

Running time: 65 mins

Genre: Action, Asian Cinema, Martial arts, Historical drama

Director: Kenichiro Nishiumi

Stars: Yuma Ishigaki, Suzunosuke, Kengo Oguchi, Sorami Iguchi, Hidekazu Ichise

Review written by Juan Carty

Related Posts:

DVD Review: Ninja Battle – A Film By Seiji Chiba Starring Actress/Idol Aki Ito

Film Review:  KG – Karate Girl Starring Rina Takeda

DVD/Blu-ray Review: Shogun Assassin Limited Edition Steelbook

DVD/ Blu-ray Review: Harakiri (1962 – Masters of Cinema)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: