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The Strange Things Boutique





Samurai WarriorVery much in the tradition of Seiji Chiba’s short, low budget Ninja films (Ninja Girl; Ninja Battle), Kenichiro Nishiumi’s Samurai Warrior is a no nonsense period effort – though thankfully, the former AD to Takashi Miike proves to be a rather better filmmaker than Chiba. And while this is still a rather slight tale, it’s not unentertaining.

Set during Japan’s Warring States period, when the men were mostly away fighting to unify the country, the film follows the adventures of a group of teenage delinquents (known dismissively as ‘Evil Little Devils’) who spend their time fighting fellow hoodlums with wooden swords in an effort to imitate their warrior elders and ‘capture’ neighbouring villages – that is, when they are not being criticised by their long-suffering mothers who would rather they actually did farm work and contributed to the village life. When one hoodlum, Ryu (Yuma Ishigaki), meets a young woman, Oman (Kumi Imura), he finds himself torn between ‘scuffling’ and his attraction to her – especially as she makes her disdain for such actions quite clear. But when genuine warrior Jojima appears on the scene, it looks as though the days of youthful scrapping and boasting could be at an end.

Unlike Chiba’s efforts, this actually looks like a real film. It’s still pretty cheap and pretty basic, but Nishiumi is at least able to make the digital video look good. It’s all throwaway stuff – as far removed from any Samurai classics as its main characters are from actual warriors – but it’s very watchable, with a good sense of humour and deliberately clumsy battles between the gangs of teenagers.

Samurai Warrior is unlikely to win over any new converts to the genre, but for existing fans, this is a better-than-usual entry into the DTV martial arts collection.





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