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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Rurouni Kenshin live action movie (review) - SM Cinema Cinexclusive

First of all, I like to thank SM Cinema for inviting me to join with them for the advance screening of Rurouni Kenshin movie last Sunday in SM City North EDSA. I'm glad I got invited to watch the movie on a weekend and from there, I won't be having problems getting a good sched for my busy weekdays. Its a movie that should not let it pass, because I'm a fan of the hit manga and anime series - Rurouni Kenshin. We waited for almost a year for the coming of the movie here in our big screen and thanks super to Pioneer Films and SM Cinema and their sponsors for making the RK fan's dream come true. It's hard to accept that the movie didn't brought here by Warner Bros Philippines, because of the movie is not like those big blockbuster movies that have a big market, but then, Rurouni Kenshin movie is just a niche movie with their own fan base and followers. I'm now interested on the next press release of SM Cinema on how much the movie will earn here in our country as it is now available to 43 SM Cinemas all over the country.

You can read the schedule and cinema list here at

Now showing December 6-11, 2012 only
You can also buy tickets online and via mobile, just follow SM Cinema's instruction on how to book your seats for the movie. Take note that the movie will have a 7 day run only here in our country. Manila movie scheds are up to Dec 9 only, other provincial screening are up to Dec 11. I know that movie rights are so expensive, but at least they got it in a limited run and I hope that future movie titles can be brought in here by other movie distributors in partnership with SM Cinema.

Kaoru, Yahiko, Megumi and Kenshin
The journey of the movie to the Philippines
A rumor about a local release of the movie sparked the interest of many people to join in a petition to bring the movie here in country, many people helped in the campaign to get many signatures and this has resulted to a 1,632 signatures and it found the interest of a local movie distributor to try get the movie and show it here in the big screen. A Facebook status post was published and it mentioned that the local distro is now in negotiation with the handler of the movie license in Japan, this brought a lot of excitement to everyone and gave back a positive feedback, and now revealed that SM Cinema will show the movie in a limited run only. The official announcement were released as early as September 2012 and this gave a lot of time to movie fans and RK fans to book their tickets online or buy it at SM Cinema's booth early before the big  December 5 screening.

I just received a special advance screening of the movie, 3 days early of the local release. It was awesome and saw the excitement of a lot of fans to finally see RK  become a live action film. The success of the Rurouni Kenshin in comics, created by Nobuhiro Watsuki, is first felt when it went on sale in "tankobon" comics book, a compilation of lots of comic strips that are sold in Japan. The comics were compiled in to a series of book up to volume 28. Then later adapted into an anime series that became a super hit to teens and adults who love samurai action and romance.

Did you know that I encounter this title before, when the time I still collect anime stuff, I saw the pages when I bought an old Shonen Jump book from an old Japanese grocery store. Then after I got a hold of a tv series and movie of the anime version in VHS, funny thing is that, I watched the anime movie first, and I got a hard time understanding its story, because it was so political and lots of talks, but then when it was aired on AXN and then local channel in Eng Dub, It gave me more interest to watch the rest of the series and also I borrow the rest of the Rurouni Kenshin books from a local Japanese library and bookstore (Honya in Makati), then the most collectible of them all is book 28, the final book,  I bought one and kept it as a collectible and reminder to myself that I'm a fan of Rurouni Kenshin.

The review
I'm  a big fan of samurai action films, and I grew up watching those movies and tv series of the Lonewolf and cub, Seven Samurais and many other Asian movies with katana wielding characters and Kung fu martial arts. I expected already that if a Samurai movie is done by a Japanese film crew, I know it will be super accurate in terms of set, design, creatives, costume and also on how they tell story. When I watched this movie, I was right and it added more visuals and the settings are much more colorful than the old samurai movies that I watched in the past.

The movie used lots of references from the anime series, because the comics will serve as their story board and the animation version will serve as their guide on how the characters talk, move and even interact with each other. The actors are with accurate likeness with the RK characters,  They did lots of job teaching them on how to act as the character, it was like watching Iron Man movie for the 1st time and other comics based movies. The Japanese did a great move in bringing this movie to life. Its a lot more better than making a TV series that will just bring rush taping jobs to the crew and also actors. I just learned from Neil Gaiman, as he mentioned years ago that he want his novel - American Gods, be in HBO Originals, why ?? because the treatment and quality are like in the movies, and not a rush job for a tv series. I guess that everyone learned that quality still rules and check out on what they are doing with The Walking Dead series.

Rurouni Kenshin deserves also for a tv series, but I'm more comfortable watching them on a big screen, and this film should be in a trilogy. The entire movie covers the small portion of the entire series, but if you will have the Shishi-O saga as the 2nd arc as sequel, I suggest that they move forward to the Enishi story arc and placed it as the final 3rd film. For the OAV series, it will be a good movie as prequel and be filmed right after the part 3. I know its a dream in having a Rurouni Kenshin movie series in 4 parts, but we haven't heard a news yet if ever they have plans in filming a sequel and we will read the news if ever the DVD is released and the movie be shown in other parts of the world.

Takeru Satou, the actor who played Himura Kenshin, did well on the stunts, the gesture and the way the animated version Kenshin do. At first, its hard to accept that he is Kenshin, lots of fans are petitioning for other actors, but when they see Takeru Satou in costume with cross scar on his left cheeks, everyone agreed that Okay, Satou is now Kenshin. It was like seeing Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, I felt a little goosebumps whenever Kenshin speaks "Oro" and changes the tone of voice whenever he is angry. Takeru Satou brought Kenshin to life.

Same goes to other actors like Emi Takei as Kaoru, she did well as Kaoru, with her pretty face, others criticized that Emi Takei's acting is lame, but I like to mention here that girls during those years don't act like a drama princess and also because of the clothes they wore that's why it's hard to move or even perform. Also, Emi Takei looks like our local celeb Kathryn Bernardo, its hard to take her out of my head when I saw Emi Takei as Kaoru in the film, and other people agreed that she look's like Kathryn Bernardo, bec. of her facial features  closely matches to Emi.

I was hoping that they can show lots of flashback story about the past of Kenshin, but then it was just a clip and Tomoe was seen facing away from the camera and her face is not yet revealed. I have a big feeling that a sequel movie will be done next and Tomoe actress will be revealed soon.

As for the english subtitles, they are good and the letters are big, I think the best way to watch this is at the lower part of the cinema, its much easier to reach also view the movie bigger. The change of eng subs are just right and now so fast, slow or have some delays. Expect double deck subs when two characters are talking at the same time. SM Cinema's digital theaters really helped a lot in bringing this film here, I suspect that the movie is in hard drive format, and didn't show any film creases as it was projected in the big screen. Great work SM Cinema!

Its an anime live action movie of Rurouni Kenshin, everything is colorful, all anime style , it matches everything like in the anime series and its a semi-perfect movie based on comics and anime ver of RK. Its so close that when you watch it, you'll hunger for more. For comics and anime purist, I suggest you remove the manga and anime story and design concepts to your home and prepare for another excitement as a new journey of the wandering swordsman will bring you back to your old self, the time when you first encounter Rurouni Kenshin.

For my movie rating.
I'll give it ....  5 out of 5
because of its accuracy of the characters and also story.

and yep! I'm going to watch it again this Friday hehehe.
Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, PBNetwork PH, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.
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