1/6/15

SAMURAI AVENGER: THE BLIND WOLF (2009)

Written by Greigh Johanson

I have a vague memory that I disliked this film when I first gave it a glance. But after a flashback my critical review turned out to be something different. The director Kurando Mitsutake have chosen to call this film genres "Sushi Western" and I, who generally isn't fond with the western genre in general, was actually a bit curious about Samurai Avenger. After all, I do like martial arts and Asian samurai films so I had to look into this somewhat odd movie once again, but I still found it a bit difficult to place it in its entirety.




Nathan Flesher is an evil and outlaw man who spent the last eight years in a poorly fortified prison cell and is soon set free again. The Blind Wolf is a man with a very personal grudge against Flesher - he killed Blind Wolf's wife and his children and left him with broken eyes. Since then, Wolf devoted his life to master the deadly art of the sword, and he is determined to get revenge. But Flesher's well aware of his deadly opponents and has hired a band of armed men and martial arts experts to assassinate Blind Wolf before he can draw his weapon. It isn't long before a trail of blood marks Blind Wolf's way to a deadly encounter with Flesher and his gang.


Samurai Avenger pretending to be a lost grindhouse-film from the seventies which now has been restored with residual scratches inevitable to repair. The film is full of cheesy gore effects and some of the sets are cheaply made, but I don't see it as something negative. As with films like Lone Wolf & Cub and other Japanese samurai films from the seventies, blood spurts of soaring dimensions measured. Each wound is made up of a fountain of red blood, so don't be surprised to see worn intestines, beheadings and dilapidated limbs. This film has all of this, some of these scenes are although filmed for the appearance of film making quality so old and poorly restored as possible. The battles are non-existent when Blind Wolf swinging the sword - Rapid fights aren't really a bad property as Lone Wolf & Cub usually kill their enemies in one or two moves, but these scenes are filmed at least better than before.

What finally got me into Samurai Avenger was the recognize to all the tributes to old classics like Zatoicihi, Lone Wolf, Mannaja and The Outfit & The Great Silence. It's a postmodern film about many different genres of films. It also contains zombies when a little touch of science fiction is inserted at the end. We also get a glimpse into a evil pregnant witch who receive her fetus in a very specific way - That scene is hysterically entertaining!

The most weakest aspect lies in the script and when the film finally gives us unique scenes, they strain them too much to make our hero into a badass. Sometimes a hero must been seen, but not heard; especially when the hero's intelligence isn't as sharp as the sword he holds in. The film falls a little when Blind Wolf's vocabulary trying to sound tough. As the mysterious stranger he is, he will definitely not talk as much as he does. A badass doesn't need to prove to anyone and he certainly don't need to explain in words how tough he really is.


Some other weak aspect lies in the narration-voice that can get a methamphetamine addict person to fall asleep. Sometimes he stops the film to explain what's happening during the scene. Sure, it's a great addition to the film, especially since there are many cultural things that needs to be explained, but I wanted the narrator to be a little more alert - he has a tendency to totally destroy the dynamics of the film.



After all, after a second attempt I really liked Blind Wolf. BUT even if this is a lowbudget film I had wished a nicer layout with more foresight, a better story and better versions of the actors. But if you like juicy films playing with several genres and borrows sequences from unbeatable classics, this is after all a film that I highly recommend!


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