Friday, September 28, 2012

Samurai Reincarnation

We wrap up my ink-slinging samurais this week with a quick ode to Sonny Chiba from Kinji Fukasaku's Makai Tensho (1981).  Based on the novel Futaro Yamada, Makai Tensho retells a fantastical version of the story of Shiro Amakusa, wherein the Christian leader renounces God after the massacre following the Shimabara Rebellion and brings back to life a number famous swordsmen to exact his revenge. Romantic folk hero Jubei Yagyu enters the fray to defeat the resurrected samurai and stop the powerful wizard Amakusa.  Considering, how most samurai movies of the 60's and 70's are grounded in an all too gritty, blood-spraying reality, this one's a bit of a shock.  Fukasaku, however, is able to deliver a colorful and atmospheric fantasy tale with some great visuals aided by an iconic performance by Chiba as Jubei.

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