The concept behind this film is strong; a mash up of Akira Kurosawa and George Lucas, where a lone sword-wielding warrior, whose family has been killed by the evil emperor of a post-apocalyptic world. This ronin joins a group of rebels to battle the emperor and his helmeted troops.
Along the way he learns how to be a true warrior from the mystical rebel leader, and falls in love with the princess. It has a solid cast of well-known actors, including Wes Bentley as the samurai and Julian Sands, predictably, as the evil emperor. There are great locations and set pieces, especially for a low(ish) budget film, with CGI effects kept to a minimum, but it is hampered by a Phantom Menace level screenplay full of cliched dialogue and a paucity of fresh ideas.
It’s not a total disaster, at least not in the financial scale of John Carter, but the accusations of “seen it all before” levelled at John Carter are more valid for Hirokin, because the story of John Carter was the foundation upon which most of contemporary sci-fi was built. Despite its obvious flaws, Hirokin is entertaining enough, within the confines of the genre, and more bearable than the aforementioned Phantom Menace, it’s just not memorable enough to garner any sort of cult status. Of course, if it had the production and marketing budget of Lucas behind it, that might be another story.
Hirokin: The Last Samurai is out on DVD and Blu-ray now and available from Play and all good retailers.