Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning: Movie Review - Reel Advice Movie Reviews

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning: Movie Review

The fifth and final film in the "Rurouni Kenshin" film series is finally here and ironically, this is a prequel and it tells the tale of Himura Kenshin before his vow to never kill again. As its own film, this is probably the most dynamic, gruesome, and action-packed release in the series. But it makes you wonder also why they decided to release this last in the first place?
During the final years of the Edo period, the revolution of which Himura Kenshin is a part of is about to upend the 300 year rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate. One night, Kenshin is having a drink when a lonely lady, Tomoe is harrased by other men. Kenshin is able to protect her and Tomoe decides to stick around with him. Soon the Shogunate is able to clamp down on those who are thrwarting against it and Kenshin and the Choshu clan are forced into hiding. Alone together and pretending to be a couple, Kenshin and Tomoe soon form an unexpected bond. But their happy days cannot last as the revolution has never ended and Kenshin's dark assassin past is about to catch up with him.
For us, this was easily the best entry in the "Rurouni Kenshin" films. It would be easy to assume that this was mostly because of its excellent and more realistic action and the bloody disgusting gore that accompanies this change but more than the action, what really made this film the best was its story. The tragic tale of Kenshin and Tomoe brought in a lot of nuance and interplay that we rarely got from the other films. In terms of character development, this was the series as its most focused. We were sincerely moved from Kenshin's transition to relentless killer to someone who wouldn't even hurt a fly - and Tomoe's own transformation was one we know about but still found ourselves loving it. Unfortunately, the film's overall effectiveness will be heavily-influenced by the previous entries especially by the recently released "Rurouni Kenshin: The Final". A lot of this film's "surprises" and even key scenes were already shown before and it still boggles us why do this. Maybe they thought most viewers would have been familiar with the source material but it was still frustrating especially for us who are new to the film's lore. Overall, regardless of its downsides, this is the strongest entry and first-time and long-time viewers of the film series will find it extremely enjoyable and emotionall moving. 
Rating: 4 reels






Why you should watch it:
- the bloodiest and goriest entry in the series
- the action and choreography was as excellent as ever

Why you shouln't watch it:
- being a prequel to the other films, there are little suprises left here
- the backdrop of the revolution was completely lost to us

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