Monday, October 6, 2014

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (2014) & The Legend Ends (2014)

Original names are Rurôni Kenshin: Kyôto Taika-hen and Rurôni Kenshin: Densetsu no Saigo-hen. Movies are sequels to Rurouni Kenshin (2012). Movies are more like a two part movie than two separate movies. They were shot at same time and released month apart. Movies are based on manga series. I haven't seen the first movie. I didn't feel I was missing anything. Beginning of third movie felt strange because of that, but everything important was told later.

I saw these movies day after The Suspect. The Suspect felt too long and before seeing these five hours in theater didn't feel so good idea. How ever these didn't feel too long. These didn't have similar repetition as The Suspect had. Every scene told something new. In The Suspect there were repeating scenes that only brought little new each time.

Like The Suspect these had good character that grew during the movie. There were no one dimensional characters. Even main villain had understandable motive and you even felt bad for him. Villains could see errors of their ways and turn into good guys. Protagonist Himura Kenshin was former assassin, who had learned his lesson and made oath not to kill anyone anymore. He even carries reverse-blade sword, which is sharp only on back. He only hurts his enemies.

Main villain is Makoto Shishio, who fought for Meiji government, but was betrayed by them after they won the war. He was burned alive, but he survived badly scarred. Now he wanted to take his revenge on those who had betrayed him. He had army, who hated Meiji government as much as he did. In second movie he was clear villain. In third he seemed more of a victim of government and government was not that trustworthy. But you have to have government to have civilized society. Alternative would be survival of the fittest.

Kyoto Inferno is story of enemy army attacking government. Enemy is clearly evil and government is good. Previous enemies join together to fight evil enemy. Movie ends with decoy attack and we don't see fights we expected to see. Ending is like ending of Empire Strikes Back. Heroes are left scattered and villains are still strong.

First hour of The Legend Ends is heroes licking their wounds and building for epic finale. After that we get back to where we left at end of second movie. This movie is not as clear battle between good and evil. This is more of government trying to stay in power acting untrustworthy and dishonorable. Honorable people stay with government because it is better than alternative. In this movie Shishio and his gang seem more human than in second movie. They are still evil, but they have given more human characteristics. They are evil partly because of what government has done to them and they are not completely beyond saving.

This is not scifi or fantasy, but this has the spirit Star Wars prequels should have had. These movies combines grand adventure. great heroes, love story and politics into epic entertaining movie. I sat almost five hours in theater watching these movies back to back. There was ten minutes break between movies. I never felt movies were too long or boring.


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