Makai Tenshô
1981 / 122m - Japan
Action, Fantasy
Samurai Reincarnation poster


January 06, 2021


I've been avoiding Fukasaku's films for the longest time, on account of not really liking some of his Yakuza work. It turns out I've should've been watching his samurai stuff instead. Samurai Reincarnation is a pretty rad film, a mixture of classic Japanese lore, some fantasy elements and a lot of cool.

After a gruesome battle, a Christian samurai loses his faith and sells his soul to the devil. In return, he receives the power to resurrect the dead. He starts on a long journey through the country. Whenever he meets disgruntled souls, he reincarnates them and adds them to his little band of misfits.

Japanese mythology is quite rich and Fukasaku is happy to exploit it for this film. Quite a few famous figures are combined in this narrative, with the showdown between Musashi Miyamoto and Yubei Yagyu as the absolute highlight. Awesome sets, a creepy atmosphere and some very cool action scenes make this quite the spectacle. A very pleasant discovery.