Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf (Synapse Blu-ray) - The Art of the Splat

Oh how I love a vengeance filled gorefest in beautiful HD. What we have learned about director Kurando Mitsutake is that he adores make juicy gushing appendages simply fall of the body and the bone like pieces of steamed meat. My first experience with his work was Gun Woman, an inverted, slow-moving revenge picture that created life-like wounds that maintained the fun spirit of an entertaining picture (rather than brutally honest wounds that you might see in a combat picture). My second experience with Mitsutake is the Synapse Films release of Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf. While this picture may be a revenge film, it takes a completely different angle, feel and visual presence especially in the effects arena.

This is one hefty blood bath, sure to please fans of Japanese revenge flicks especially those of the Shaw Brothers and similar, inspired offerings from Quentin Tarantino. The budget is light and it shows with practical effects balanced with hefty amounts of CG blood splatter. While I am normally a detractor of the use of excessive computer generated red stuff, it works to great comedic effect in this movie, balancing out well the mean spirited origin of our protagonist’s revenge. Do not take Samurai Avenger too seriously as it is clearly meant to be a dark comedic effort, but at the same time do not close yourself off to a moderate emotional experience with the lead, his wife and child. That would ruin the revenge aspect of the picture, removing a very working emotional stimulator.

Samurai Avenger feels like it is over before it begins walking through plot point and battle sequence quickly and efficiently. It can feel rushed, and may even require a second watch to complete the narrative properly. Every time you get to the nitty gritty of a relationship or new character development the viewer is bombarded with a healthy dose of splat. It’s almost formulaic which works toward it’s comedic aspirations but maybe leaves a bit to be desired when watching it as a dramatic work. I suppose that’s what works best for Italian Westerns. A bit fun, a bit of story, a bit of fight and then resolution. Samurai Avenger follows this model effectively.

It looks gorgeous. Samurai Avenger preserves the feeling of a traditional revenge picture in spite of its light budget and looks great in HD. The cover art is exciting and makes a handsome addition to your library. The extras are perfect for fans of this genre allowing for some insight into the fight sequences and even a blooper reel to lighten up the mood. I recommend this picture to those of you who enjoy modern Asian fighting movies, Shaw Brothers pictures and fans of the low budget splat who can look past some of the computer touches.

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From Synapse:

After losing his eyesight, his wife, and his daughter at the hands of a deranged psychopath, a man is transformed into an unstoppable killing machine hellbent on revenge! Eight years after the massacre of his family, the “Blind Wolf” has returned as a highly trained swordsman ready to seek justice. But he doesn’t know seven deadly (and even undead) assassins have been hired by his sworn enemy to make sure he doesn’t leave town alive!

Set in nowhere and in no time, SAMURAI AVENGER: THE BLIND WOLF is a bloody sushi-western and a modern day action film with a classic samurai essence.

Audio Commentary with Director Kurando Mitsutake, Producer Chiaki Yanagimoto and Editor John Migdal
Sword Fight Choreography
Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
Blooper Reel
Theatrical Trailer

If you like over the top fight sequences, low budget gore squirting everywhere and tales of ultimate revenge, make sure to support Synapse and this beautiful Blu-ray.

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