“No matter how bad the memory, sometimes just remembering it gives you incredible power.”


The 100th film from the prolific Takashi Miike is a stylish samurai tale adapted from the manga of the same name. The Ittō-ryū antagonists mirror Miike’s creatively unconventional style, seeking to destroy the traditional schools with a new code that incorporates all fighting styles and foreign weapons. This allows for variety through fights utilising different weapons. Where most sumurai heroes survive through supernatural swordsmanship, Manji is literally cursed to survive, which he often uses to his advantage in combat, allowing himself to be injured. He is more Old Man Logan than Wolverine. Indeed, in reluctantly taking on the protection and training of a young girl, Rin, there are considerable parallels with Logan. The inky black and white prologue features a higher bodycount than the entirety of most action films, although Miike then reins in this excess until the brutal conclusion. Not quite as strong as Miike’s own 13 Assassins, having an overtly unkillable protagonist eventually starts to drag. However, Anotsu, the softly spoken, implacable leader of the Ittō-ryū, makes for a fascinating foil that keeps us guessing about the eventual destination of Rin’s quest for revenge.