With the threat of American ships off the coast of Japan, the leader of the Samurai clan Annaka, concerned about the invasion of the foreigners, decides to organize a marathon to prepare his men, who after many years of peace are out of shape.However, and due to lack of communication with one of his spies, the shogun believes that the race is about a coup d’état, and sends a group of assassins to finish off the runners.What was originally a race to defend the nation ends up turning into a bloody battle to survive.
Based on a novel of the same name written by Akihiro Dobashi, that was inspired by a marathon held annually in Japan, the film explores a time of change in the history of Japan, through characters that hide different motivations to participate in the marathon, without even being aware that this race will be the first step towards a new era.
From a treacherous ninja, to a runaway princess, all the characters involved in this foot race, will have to follow a bloody path bathed in blood, that is mainly shown in the second and third act, in which film offers some violent and brutal fights, very well performed and shot made by the same crew that gave us jewels as “Azumi” or “13 Assassins”.
British filmmaker, Bernard Rose (Candyman), directed this violent “jidaigeki“, showing a great knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture, not making the mistake that other foreign directors have made, of showing Japan from the eyes of a “gaijin”, falling into clichés and leavinga blurred caricature of Japanese culture.
The script, written by Bernard Rose and Hiroshi Saito, relies mostly on drama, but also finds comic reliefs between drama and action and tells the story through majestic landscapes, that are shown through Takuro Ishizaka‘s beautiful cinematography.
An original and different kind of samurai movie that is really worth it to watch.
The film will be available in May 12th on Digital, DVD and Bluray by Well Go USA.