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Sword of the Stranger Short Review

Genres: Action Drama Historical All
Series' Year of Release: 2007
Number of Episodes: 1
Review Date: 15-9-2010
Review Language: Dub
Review DVD Region: R4 Available in Australia
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Kotaro and his dog are on the run from the Chinese Ming in mainland Japan. Just as they catch up with the boy, he meets a lordless Samurai, No-Name. Refusing to kill, No-Name strikes a deal with Kotaro, agreeing to protect him in return for payment. However the Chinese are determined to capture the boy, and send their best warrior, a Westerner named Luo-Lang, after him.

sword_of_stranger001Sword of the Stranger looks like a classic samurai flick; a lone samurai of supreme skill defends the weak and fights the strong. However it has some weird elements that set it apart from the norm. The main bad guy is a western traveling around with the Chinese, who are after immortality and pretty much do what ever they like in Japanese territory. Including constructing a huge doom fortress/altar. The film has also a touch of irreverence, with random background characters providing some levity. It's a cross genre affair.

sword_of_stranger014Essentially Sword of the Stranger has a three pronged story, which is it's achilles heel. The Chinese, the Japanese, and No-Name/Kotaro make up the three sides and the interplay between them makes sense. However there's not enough depth to either party, and it felt like the movie was just checking off plot points rather than developing the characters. Not spending more time on No-Name and the boy also weakened that central relationship of the film. I didn't care, which wasn't helped by the boy's brattish attitude.

sword_of_stranger034The animation is exceptional, and incredibly fluid however the direction wasted it. The combat is very frenetic, with lots of jumping around, and you can't appreciate it because it's too fast. Two characters will be facing each other and then suddenly there will be blood spurting over the screen without being able to follow what happened. That said I wasn't really expecting anything in particular from Sword of the Sword, and in that sense it was a decent action flick.