Road Rash Reviews

SAMURAI REINCARNATION [MAKAI TENSHŌ] (Masters of Cinema) Special Edition Blu-ray Review****-

Cert 18 | 122 mins | 1981

4 Star

The Dead Are Out For Revenge.

From the writer/director that brought us classic genre defining films such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and Battle Royal, with Samurai Reincarnation he does it again in this fantasy horror. It has way out there ideas that tell the tale of the oppression and massacre of the Christian religion in the seventeenth century Japan. Crazy ideas, crazy martial arts skills, what more could you want?

“A sword brings forth thousands of lives.”

“A sword kills thousands of lives.”

“It brings the souls of the dead back to life.”

“It brings devils from hell.”

Told in episodes as our protagonist Christian leader Shiro Amakusa’s (Kenji Sawada, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, The Man Who Stole the Sun) head sits amongst forty-five thousand other heads, after ninety days of vicious fighting. The victors sit looking out at their work, as a storm approaches.

Listen God! From now on, I forsake my faith in you!

Vengeance on You!

With the crack of lightning, Shiro’s dead eyes open, and his head flies off. This is so 1980s. As Shiro finds his body, he sets about assembling a team to exact his vengeance on those he blames for his death. First up is Lady Hosokawa, a woman slighted in life, when her husband wanted a concubine. He couldn’t understand her Christian belief in monogamy and left her to rot when he was kidnapped. Lady Hosokawa has some powers of her own when she joins Shiro in his quest.

Famed sword-master Musashi Miyamoto (Ken Ogata, Vengeance Is Mine, The Ballad of Narayama) is an elderly man who always wonders if he really is the best in Japan. He is also tormented by the one he loved, Otsuu (Ai Kanzaki, Yami no karyudo, Tenshi o yûwaku) the flautist, but he never showed her any love, he was tormented by not being able to battle with his rival Lord Tajima. A man shouldn’t die of loneliness and regret. With those words, Shiro is able to reincarnate the sword-master to fight on his side.

One man stands in their way, Jubei Yagyu (Sonny Chiba, The Street Fighter Trilogy, The Executioner Collection, THE BULLET TRAIN [SHINKANSEN DAIBAKUHA], Sister Street Fighter Collection). The son of Lord Tajima, and also a famed swords-master, and his father always wonders if his son could beat him.

Well, sit back and enjoy two hours of mad 1980s Fantasy Horror Samurai style. Brilliant stuff.

SAMURAI REINCARNATION [MAKAI TENSHŌ] (Masters of Cinema) Special Edition Blu-ray Available now.




Limited Edition Slipcase (First print run of 2000 copies) featuring artwork by Takato Yamamato | 1080p presentation on Blu-ray from a 2K restoration of the original film elements | Uncompressed original Japanese mono audio | Alternate English dubbed audio | Optional English subtitles | Brand new audio commentary by Tom Mes | Brand new interview with filmmaker Kenta Fukasaku | Original Japanese trailer | PLUS: A collectors booklet featuring new writing on the film


*All extras subject to change

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DirectorKinji Fukasaku
GenreAction, Fantasy, Horror
StarringSonny Chiba, Kenji Sawada, Ken Ogata, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tomisaburo Wakayama
Available to buy on : Own SAMURAI REINCARNATION [MAKAI TENSHŌ] (Masters of Cinema) Special Edition Blu-ray on Blu-Ray