Creating a sprawling Sci-Fi epic is a tall order even if you have a major studio standing behind you throwing cash at your project, and when you’re going it alone it’s a massive undertaking, but every now and then you get a success story like Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. It almost makes sense then that in attempting to make his own in Hirokin: The Last Samurai, writer and director Alejo Mo-Sun channeled George Lucas’s brainchild. Unfortunately, Mo-Sun also throws in a bit of old English and acting that’s so far over the top that it makes you wonder why he bothered to cast recognizable and respectable actors at all. In the end Wes Bentley, Angus Macfadyen, Laura Ramsey, and even the ever-scenery-chewing Julian Sands feel wasted in an overlong story that achieves the quality of Saturday afternoon Sci-Fi serial at its best moments.
On a barren planet ruled with an iron fist by a militaristic cadre known as the Deacons led by their sadistic leader Griffin (Sands), the lone swordsmen known as Hirokin (Bentley) must track down the leader of the rebellion faction and aid them in their overthrow of the cruel regime. All the while he broods over the loss of his wife and son at the Deacons’ hands and ultimately must decide whether his quest will be one of redemption or revenge.
The story seems pretty straightforward, but where it loses step is in the lofty rhetoric and performances that Mo-Sun should have reeled in, like Mcfadyen for example. The cinematography is beautiful and so visually the film pops whenever we’re getting a panoramic shot, but otherwise it looks like a Sci-Fi spin-off of the Kevin Sorbo Hercules series and it has acting to match.
DVD Bonus Features
There’s a decent amount here if you’re so curious to see how it was put together, including a basic production featurette, a look at how the fight choreography was planned, and Bentley’s training with a sword. After that, you just get deleted scenes.
"Hirokin: The Last Samurai" is on sale November 6, 2012 and is rated R. Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi. Directed by Alejo Mo Sun. Written by Alejo Mo-Sun. Starring Angus Macfadyen, Julian Sands, Laura Ramsey, Wes Bentley.