Films: Bushido Man

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Bushido Man

Bushido Man

Japan, 2013, 88 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Asian, Cult, Japan
Program: Million Dollar Movies
Language: Japanese English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Takanori Tsujimoto
Producer: Yohei Haraguchi, Miku Kikuchi
Editor: Kensuke Sonomura, Takanori Tsujimoto
Screenwriter: Takanori Tsujimoto
Cinematographer: Tetsuya Kudo
Principal Cast: Mitsuki Koga, Yoshiyuki Yamaguchi, Masanori Mimoto, Kentaro Shimazu, Kazuki Tsujimoto

This tongue-in-cheek action comedy was written, directed, produced, and edited by the prolific and versatile Takanori Tsujimoto (Red Tears and Hard Revenge, Milly). The story follows Toramaru, a follower of “bushi,” or the martial way. He has the look of a 19th-century monk-warrior set down in modern Japan, as he makes his way from city to city to fight seven idiosyncratic martial masters. His aim is to secure scrolls that tell the secrets of their supremacy, which he presents to his own master, Gensai. The aging teacher listens avidly to Toramaru’s recounting of his battles—and the meals that preceded them. For Gensai has instructed his student that digestion will help him understand his adversaries and how to defeat them.

In impressively choreographed battles, Toramaru fights in seven different disciplines: stick, knife, sword, kung fu, nunchaku, firearm, and special weapons. The fights, which take up most of the story, are shaped as much by humor as by rhythm and ferocity, as the earnest young apprentice encounters rivals with baffling quirks and astonishing skills, which he must master if he is to win the scrolls. His skills build on his latest encounters, as when he wields a yakuza dagger as a devastating hammer blow and defeats the knife-wielding enemy with kung fu.

The screen is hot and washed-out, scenes framed by the tranquility of nature or the darkness of the man-made. A bounty for fans of Tarantino-style filmmaking, Bushido Man delivers an ending to take the audience by surprise.

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