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Bushido Man: Seven Deadly Battles (Blu-ray Review)

Bushido Man THUMBBushido Man is a pretty big deal here for Shout! Factory.  In addition to this release, they’ll also be putting out this same film but edited into a web series focusing on each fight as well.  That series will be out this Monday, two weeks before the release of this Blu-ray.  I have further details regarding the web series version of the film and you can see that by clicking HERE.  Bushido man has had quite the cult following overseas, primarily in Japan and Germany.  The film was also a big hit at the Fantasia International Film Festival in 2013.  If you’re into martial arts films that feature a lot of different fighting styles and disciplines within one film, then this film is definitely the ticket.  Its a simple film with a lot of kicking butt.

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Film 

Toramaru sits before his master, Gensai.  For the past year he has been doing his final training by traveling Japan and fighting a martial arts master of a different discipline.  Each master is the owner of a scroll with the secrets to mastering the craft.  Toramaru needed to collect all the scrolls on his journey and present them to his master when he completed his task.  To beat them, he must use the discipline with which he seeks to attain mastery.  The film takes place with Toramaru sitting before Gensai and telling him of each battle.

Seriously, this movie is as simple as it sounds.  We get a brief intro to the fight, via Toramaru eating and Gensai trying to guess which master he challenged based on the meal preparation.  Then we’d go straight to the fight.  And these fights have some really great choreography and ass kicking that elevates the film easily over its very basic and simple narrative.  Its well shot, foley’d and performed.  And what keeps your interest is each that each fight consists of people fighting in a drastically differently discipline.

To compliment the fighting style changes, I felt the film also took slight changes in filming styles as well.  Its not a huge change from fight to fight, but you can sense a different approach to film each fight and evoking a different look and feeling for them.  Also, they used different cameras for the fights than they did with the prefight meal and the scenes with Gensai.  Its a very innovative feeling the film and adds some style points in the craft to go with the fighting.

Bushido Man is truly what it is and not much more.  It does have quite a surprising and exhilarating finish that I didn’t expect.  For fans of martial arts movies, not only is this a good modern one, but its also a terrific throwback the ones of old and very respectful in that sense.  Its also super short, so you really don’t have to set a whole lot of time take this in and that means its a great choice to go for on a repeat viewing.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1:78.1

Clarity/Detail: This film looks great.  There is a high amount of detail and good crisp, sharp image.  Detail is high, whether it be dirt, leaves or costuming.  Its very impressive considering there are a lot scenes taking place in the woods.

Depth:  This transfer does a solid job of translating 3 dimensional material through foreground and background.

Black Levels:  Black levels are above average and loss of detail is extremely minimal.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are rich and solid.  Greens are a standout.

Flesh Tones:  Consistent and detailed.  Facial hair and skin texture are well documented.

Noise/Artifacts:  None witnessed.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): Japanese Stereo PCM, English 5.1 DTS-HD, English Stereo PCM

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  The original audio is fantastic.  There’s a good balance of volumes between effects and everything else.  These punches and other assorted action kick you right in the face and give enough low frequency to make you not notice your subwoofer isn’t being used.  This track is awesome.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is set to a great audible volume and is clean and crisp throughout.

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Extras 

The release contains interior art work on the other side of the cover.

Making Bushido Man: From The Fantasia Film Festival (HD, 11:17) – A look at the film screening at the Fantasia Film Festival.  We get to see our cast and crew arrive, do a Q&A and also an interview.

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Summary 

Bushido Man is a unique,  fun martial arts throwback film that should easily please fans of the genre.  Shout! Factory gives it a terrific presentation in both audio and video.  This film is sure to become a cult favorite here in a America as it has other countries overseas.  The fighting scenes are so much fun and have so much flavor that they are almost a character of their own.  People should definitely give this film a look in the solid release provide by the wonderful folks over at Shout! Factory!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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