Reborn From Hell: Samurai Armageddon (Japan 1998)

Rating: **
Cast: Yuko Moriyama

This live action film featuring legendary hero Yagyu Jubei is quite a disappointment. Almost identical in structure and execution to Yuko Moriyama's previous Yagyu Jubei film "Kunoichi Ninpocho Yagyu Gaiden" (1998), and it too is stretched across two installments! Very annoying. The main villain is building an army of powerful demon warriors by raising people from the dead. He wishes to fulfill an armageddon prophecy and to settle a score with a certain samurai by the name of Yagyu Jubei. The pacing is extremely sluggish, and although some of the sword fighting is quite good, a lot of cheap camera tricks, invasive editing, and tacky digital effects make most of the action sequences look laughably bad. The actor who plays Jubei is quite good, and his charisma manages to carry most of the film. Yuko Moriyama has the tiniest of cameo roles as a ninja girl who is kidnapped to be sacrificed by one of the demon warriors. Thankfully she didn't get compromised in this episode - we'll have to wait and see what happens to her in the sequel, since she hasn't been rescued yet! A big plus for Tokyo Shock for putting the subtitles below the letterbox, but big minus points for not indicating "Part 1" in the video title.