A bloody slasher that didn’t go for the kill
Samurai X the movie is much like the character himself: strong and charming but has a weak spot for the ladies. And after he takes you on in a great match he leaves you in the battlefield – battered and exhausted – but not dead. In the end he upheld his honor, at the expense of the satisfaction of others.
The films’ strongest point is, of course, Kenshin himself played by Takeru Sato. You follow his story and get engrossed for about an hour. The action sequences and stunts were quite good too. But it got a little repetitive and more notably so when the final act arrives and it boils down to a melodramatic mess that leaves you disappointed. I also didn’t like the roles of female characters in the movie, not to blame their portrayers (Emi Takei and Yu Aoi). And it’s not as if the execution was bad, it’s just that it felt like they gave up and rushed in wrapping up the movie. So my consensus is this – first hour: B+, last 40 minutes: D+. Maybe I’d understand or appreciate the movie more had I followed the anime series back then, but as a standalone film, it was a slight disappointment.