Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno **Dir: Keishi Ohtomo. With: Takeru Sato, Emi Takei, Tatsuya Fujiwara. 138 mins. Cert: 15
Japan’s biggest live-action hit of 2014, this samurai sequel is – like so many Western blockbusters – an 80-minute B-picture stifled under another hour’s worth of expensive production design. Backroom staffers clearly worked overtime housing the countless superfluous characters separating our androgynous hero from his flame-grilled nemesis, yet while the period recreation is unarguably lavish, all this flagrant expansionism achieves is to reroute us from the swordplay we’ve paid to see. It isn’t added VFM, rather wasted time: a shameless cliffhanger sets up a third instalment, when – with a few brisk strokes of the accountant’s pen and the editor’s blade – the story really should have been resolved here.
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno opens in selected cinemas from today.