Full Disclosure: I am not a hardcore Rurouni Kenshin (RK) fan; I hadn’t been following the series since it was first aired on Studio 23 since 1999 and even when it was aired in Filipino audio on ABS-CBN as well. Though I watched it at some point as well, I actually never understood the story, What I only know is that the lead character is Kenshin Himura, a swordsman who uses a reverse-blade sword because he has promised that he will never kill anymore.
That was still my impression, until now.
Fast forward to 2012, where the first Live Action film adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin was already showing in Japan, There were reports that there would be plans of international releases, since the film was produced by no less than Warner Bros. Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of TimeWarner-owned Warner Bros. Pictures.
Upon hearing this, Pinoy RK fans were badgering the official Warner Bros. Pictures Philippines Facebook page to release the movie, but WB said no.
Enter Pioneer Films, or more commonly known on Facebook as “Movie Punch”. This little-known film distributor is always obscure, to the point that nobody knew that Movie Punch is the official facebook page of Pioneer Films. But as obscure as it may seems, they were the ones to bring some bang, as they were the distributors of such Blockbusters like “The Twilight Saga” and “The Hunger Games”, among others.
When Pioneer heard the clamor, they quietly worked their way to allow Filipino RK fans to experience the movie. And yes, we have to say, that we were the first ones to break the story about it.
So now, we have come to the movie, which I was able to watch during the advanced screening held at the SM North EDSA Cinema. After we waited for 15 minutes for the customary movie trailer screenings, the MTRCB advisory appeared (Wow, the MTRCB is really serious in their job in rating movies, so they have made a Cinema version of what you already see on TV). And, at long last, we were finally able to watch it in subtitled glory.
Of course, I always look into the movie’s technical merits, and I should say that the movie was at par with Hollywood. I mean you could mistake the movie for a Hollywood film, but no, it is a Japanese movie shot in Japan. All the scenes were beautifully crafted and extensively made to ensure that they are following Nobuhiro Watsuki’s vision for the manga.
You could easily say that, for Two hours and 14 minutes, you will be part of the Meiji era, as the details were really that authentic that, for the time being, I was part of the action. They also used more camera movements but not to the point of making the scenes more distractive.
For the acting, I really have to applaud everyone, especially on the lead star, Takeru Satoh, who played Kenshin. He was exceptional, he could be funny at times, especially on the scenes where there is humor involved, but on most times, he was damned serious. He channeled Kenshin effectively and instinctively. He was also good on the scenes where he was required to do swordfights and just some plain Fernando Poe-ish action, while also channeling a sort of Christopher De Leon for the dramatic scenes, especially for the monologues, For me, Satoh’s Kenshin is way, way badass.
The contravida was idiotic, and you wanted to make him strangle. The guy who played Sanosuke was humorous and the “leading lady” who played Kaoru was sometimes stiff, but she’s also good as well. The kid who played Myojin Yahiko was a revelation, He was channeling a tough guy persona but at the same time he is still physically a kid, Yahiko’s role required those traits and for me, the kid did just as that.
All in all, the director should be very pleased with the end result of the movie. He not only made the movie for the die-hard RK fans, but for the non-RK fan like me. Careful only though on the violence because there will be a lot of blood and death scenes, but other than that, this movie is definitely worth the wait, as you could see in its entirety.
For the RK fan, it will be a great addition for your excessive fandom for all things RK, but for the non-fan like me, it will serve as a great start for the uninitiated. But all in all, what we saw in the movie is not just a simple swordfight, but a different kind of swordplay.
Rurouni Kenshin is running for its 3rd & Final Week! Catch Rurouni Kenshin on Selected SM Cinema branches until December 24. Watch it as you can, so don’t miss it!
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