Based on Hiroaki Samura's long-running (1993-2012) manga, the samurai swashbuckler "Blade of the Immortal" promises the sort of fun, over-the-top action that has long been a trademark of its director, Takashi Miike.
However, it labors to deliver, including during the 300-against-1 fight scene shown in the trailer. Those praying this film would be a return to form for Miike after the disaster of "Terraformars" (2016) — an over-stuffed sci-fi epic that sank without a trace last year — will have to keep praying: "Blade of the Immortal" is more of the dreary same, only this time the cast is in topknots instead of space suits.
Scripted by Tetsuya Oishi and produced by a consortium headed by Warner Bros. Pictures Japan, the film suffers from the elephantiasis endemic to big-budget manga adaptations. Fans want to see their favorite characters and stories, producers oblige, and the result is a two-hour-plus running time packed with self-indulgent bloat. Miike has added a few familiar signature touches, such as shots of gruesomely dissected victims on the wrong end of the hero's sword, but otherwise the film is hard to distinguish from other "production consortium" product.