“It’s been ages since Japan produced anything as manly… a mentally insane fight circus” – Mikko Koivisto, SKETCHES OF CINEMA
It is a happy, sunlit day at the dojo of the Cosmic Way, a school of the martial arts whose sensei, Gensai, preaches a path of hard-earned wisdom and honour. His prized student Toramaru (Mitsuki Koga of SHINOBI, ICHI and more) has returned from a pilgrimage across Japan with tales to tell — seven tales of seven battles, each one a milestone in his quest for universal mastery of the martial arts. Gensai had taught him, “know your opponent through what he eats,” and Toramaru teases his teacher, introducing each account with details about the meal that preceded it, so that the excited Gensai must guess where the fight happened, and who it was against. And so, one by one, Toramaru recalls them. The Chinese kung fu master. The quick-footed bojutsu (pole fighting) expert. The overly theatrical nunchaku champ. The blind swordsman. The yakuza knife fighter. The wannabe-American six-gun slinger. And finally, a certain lady with highly unusual weapons. From each, Torumaru gains precious insights, but the most surprising lesson will come from Gensai himself…
Whether your tastes in out-there Asian action cinema run to classic Shaw Bros. kung fu and Japanese chanbara, or to the over-the-top absurdities of the modern Sushi Typhoon wave, a ticket to Takanori Tsujimoto’s BUSHIDO MAN is your path to entirely satisfying martial arts fun at Fantasia this summer. Tsujimoto made his mark — with a bang and buckets of blood — when his HARD REVENGE MILLY films hit screens, and now he’s back with the clever and exciting BUSHIDO MAN. It’s a modest production that manages to shine on every front — the fights are magnificently choreographed, the actors engaging and entertaining, the wise exploration of the warrior’s way, bushido, leavened by laughs as subtle surrealism and slapstick comedy are woven in. And then there are the mouth-watering interludes at assorted eateries, making the film a mini-travelogue for foodies with a fondness for fisticuffs. Tsujimoto serves up a winner, seven times over!
— Rupert Bottenberg