I’ve recently had the pleasure of discovering the work of Kurando Mitsutake. He first came to my attention with his latest feature Karate Kill (2016) which I absolutely loved. This lead to me picking up his two other films: Gun Woman (2014) (which I love just as much if not more than Karate Kill), and his debut feature, Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf. After loving his latest two films, what did I think of Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf? Read on and find out.
Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf is the debut feature from Kurando Mitsutake (Karate Kill 2016) from a script he wrote with John Midgal. The film stars Kurando Mitsutake, Jeffrey James Lippold (The Brides of Sodom 2013), Domiziano Arcangeli (Wrath of the Crows 2013), Megan Hallin, Kyle Ingleman (Attack of the Slime People 2008), Loren Lutcher, Mariko Denda (Tales from the Dead 2008), Aki Hiro, Tegan Ashton Cohan (Empty Rooms 2012), Masami Kosaka (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 2012), and Noriaki Kamata (Gun Woman 2014).
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.
Like his other films, Kurando Mitsutake’s Samurai Avenger is a revenge film. Whereas Karate Kill focused mostly on martial arts and Gun Woman was a mix of gun battles and martial arts, Samurai Avenger is a sushi western, a hybrid of samurai and western elements. I really enjoyed Kurando’s portrayal of Blind Wolf, who is your typical, stoic badass, but what really sets him apart is his body language and mannerisms. Much like Mastermind in Gun Woman, he is the victim of a horrible loss at the hands of an immoral psychopath, but his suffering is far greater. Unlike Mastermind, Blind Wolf doesn’t take his revenge near as far as sacrificing others. I though Jeffrey James Lippold made a great sidekick to Blind Wolf as Drifter and I loved their interaction and teamwork, I just wish his character was explored a little more. Maybe an opportunity for a Drifter prequel? Domiziano Arcangeli was twisted and sadistic as Nathan Flesher, the perpetrator of the horrible act committed against Blind Wolf.
The film is nice and bloody, including such brutality as a disemboweling, a gunshot to the head, an ear torn off, a man’s eyes put out with a tree branch, a triple impaling, knives to the head, hands cut off, tongues bit off, throat slashings, a body rotting away completely, a c-section via sword fight, and arms and legs cut off. The music by Dean Harada was excellent, featuring some moments that mixed spaghetti western and samurai motifs as well as a piece during a zombie fight that reminded me of Goblin. If I had one complaint, it would be that I wish that some of the assassins had a little backstory. The Old Man and The Hypnotist were both given pretty solid back stories that added a lot to their character. I just wish that The Witch and the Cowboys were given the same treatment.
Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf is a fun and bloody first effort from a filmmaker who has since gone on to bigger and better things. If you are a fan of samurai films, spaghetti westerns or any over the top and weird genre films, then I recommend you check out Samurai Avenger. Also be sure to check out Gun Woman and Karate Kill. I can’t wait to see what Kurando Mitsutake comes up with next.