is like the Anthony Bourdain of martial arts.
Before challenging a rival, he first eats what they eat. There is some wisdom to that approach, but
there is considerably more mayhem to be found in Takanori Tsujimoto’s Bushido Man (trailer here), which screens
tomorrow during the 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival.
the sensei of the Cosmic Way school of holistic martial arts, has sent his
number one student forth into the world to challenge seven specialized masters
and hopefully claim their ancient scrolls of secret wisdom. Things must have gone relatively well, since
Toramaru has returned to tell his tales to his appreciative teacher. Based on the details of his prep meal, Gensai
is able to guess the identity of the master to be challenged.
Bushido probably cost less to produce
than dinner for one at Nobu, action director Kensuke Sonomura stages some epic
mano-a-mano showdowns. Sonomura himself
starts things off briskly as Yuan Jian, the Chinese kung fu master and Kazuki
Tsujimoto makes quite a memorable Zatōichi surrogate as the blind swordsman
Muso. Yet, the honor-stoked adrenaline
reaches its purest, highest point when Masanori Mimoto appears as Eiji Mimoto,
the Yakuza dagger master. To his credit,
Tsujimoto also has a good sense of fair play, allowing Miki Mizuno to rack up
an impressive body count as the pragmatic arms-dealing femme fatale, M.
Bushido is all about
fighting, periodically taking timeout for some goofball humor. If you’re looking for narrative logic here,
just don’t. In one scene, Toramaru
strolls through the sunny streets of contemporary Tokyo, yet the next moment he
is trudging through the scarred wasteland of a post-apocalyptic Yokohama. It does really matter though. Everything in Bushido is there to facilitate the food and fighting.
Held together by Mitsuki Koga’s action cred and
straight man persona, Bushido Man delivers
the goods for martial arts-samurai-yakuza movie fans. It nicely demonstrates how a scrappy low
budget action production can overcome its budget constraints with energy and a
clever concept. Recommended for
established genre fans, it screens tomorrow (7/27) at the Imperial Theatre as
part of this year’s Fantasia Festival in Montreal.
Labels: Fantasia '13, Japanese Cinema, Martial arts cinema