Hard-core fans will count this among his more restrained efforts, and yet Takashi Miike’s 100th film still ends with an insanely bloody, indescribably exciting 300-person sword fight. After inflation, that’s an increase of roughly 30 percent on the number of guys slaughtered at the climax of 13 Assassins.

As with that 2010 film, a remake of an existing classic, the Japanese cult god has subsumed himself somewhat to his latest movie’s source material. And we’re still left with a hyperstylish popcorn triumph.

Based on the long-running manga, Blade begins with the origin story of its titular immortal, Manji (Japanese megastar Takuya Kimura), a samurai granted (or cursed with) the ability to heal by a mysterious witch after she observes the revenge-driven swordsman cut down 100 bounty hunters.

Fifty years later, the reclusive Manji is pressed back into action by Rin (Hana Sugisaki), teen daughter of Edo’s greatest fencer, murdered by the Ittō-ryū, a particularly ambitious (and weird) fighting sect led by spindly pretty boy Anotsu (Sôta Fukushi). (What they did to Rin’s mother is even worse but is also vintage Miike in its unfathomable perversity.)

For the next two hours, this lopsided duo hacks its way through an increasingly high-concept cast of enemies, putative allies, and at least one other immortal. In every case, poor old Manji is cut to ribbons.

It’s repetitive, sure, but not like Miike’s much more personal 2004 provocation, Izo, which tested the viewer by adopting violent repetition as its very theme but which also had an intellectual weight that’s supplanted here by Kimura’s shaggily charming, quasi-comedic take on his role. If it leaves us wishing for more attention paid to the deeper horrors of immortality—the question of soul, and the craving of release from incessant impalings and hacked off limbs that stitch themselves back together—it also feels just as churlish to complain. Even at his most casual, Miike’s blade is way sharper than most.

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