The last time we saw Afro (Voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) he had finally completed his blood soaked five episode quest to avenge the death of his father at the hands of the brutal Justice. I’m still not quite sure how he beat that dude, and I was watching it when he did it. So after spending all that energy and every waking moment of his child life and adult life in this single purpose pursuit… now what? I guess nothing because Afro has cast away his number one head band and now walks the earth even more miserable than he was before he started his quest to avenge his old man. But damn Afro, and this is Ninja Ninja talking to you here, you just can’t get out the game at your own leisure, as Afro will painfully learn in the follow up to the Spike TV television series ‘Afro Samurai: Resurrection’.
Before we begin I think it
would be extremely helpful, but not completely
necessary, to have seen the five episode animated series
before watching this little movie as they only explain
enough to get you through. Afro has pretty much hung up
his sword because, quite honestly, you would think
there’s nobody left on the planet to kill... but not so
fast my friends. So Afro is walking the earth like Cain,
being the miserable cat we know and love when he gets
the word that the lovely lady Sio (Lucy Liu) is in
possession of the number one headband that he’s
abandoned. We do wonder how Sio can fight anybody
carrying around a healthy set of unsupported D-cups
while wearimg needle thin stiletto heeled boots, but I
guess that’s why she’s the number one Samurai and I’m
Now Sio didn’t grab this headband because she simply enjoys killing people. Well, actually she does but that’s secondary. What she really wants is to force Afro to into a fight because she hates the man. I mean she hates this dude worse than anybody has
ever hated anything. The reasons behind this hate are kind of complex and originate back from the original series, but for the most part, Sio’s hatred of Afro is fairly well justified. The question is how is this completely insane, overdeveloped woman is going to force a dude who is deep into retirement into a fight, so that she can slowly torture him to death? Why dig up his long dead daddy and reanimate him using a mix of bizarre medical technology, alchemy and black magic of course. And Afro can’t even face Sio to rescue his dead daddy until he becomes the no. 2 samurai again which involves massive amounts of killing and murderous mayhem.
So with his awesomely annoying imaginary best friend Ninja Ninja in tow, Afro goes about doing the only thing he really knows how to do, and this is commit mass murder on a biblical scale in a quest for a thin piece of cloth. Awesome.
In a lot of ways ‘Afro Samurai’ is almost just a technical demo for the animators over at Gonzo in Japan to show how fantastic they can draw, and the artwork in ‘Afro Samurai: Resurrection’ is truly incredible. It’s the story aspects of Afro Samurai where it suffers the most. The good thing about this movie is that it does have more focus on the story than the mini-series, which was pretty much pure and utter nonsense. Though this movie is a continuation of that previous episodic nonsense, it is at least focused nonsense which made it much easier to get through.
Another issue that I have with the character of Afro Samurai is that there is nothing even remotely likable about the dude. There are plenty of anti-social Anti-Heroes out there, say like Blade or D the Vampire Hunter or even Dexter from that TV show who are all around unsavory people, but they do serve some greater purpose. Afro serves absolutely no purpose other than to grab a piece of cloth and gain mindless revenge. Even in this movie his goal was to kill as many people as possible to rescue his daddy whose already dead for goodness sakes. The point being that there is no emotional pull to the story. If Afro dies, big deal. If the forces that are trying to kill Afro get it, so what? And don’t even get us started on the Ninja Ninja minstrel show.
So with no emotional investment in the story what we’re left with is hoping the cool animation and the crazy overload of violent images can carry us through, and it pretty much does. Samuel L., Lucy Lui and the rest of the cast read the sub par dialog with plenty of gusto, animated blood spray jettisons out of beheaded necks in glorious detail, even better for those who have Plasma’s and Blu-Ray, and the narrative, as nutty as it is, doesn’t slow down much to allow us to focus in on how vapid it all is.
Was I entertained by ‘Afro Samurai: Resurrection’? Sure I was… because I like pretty pictures and violence. If you like pretty pictures and violence, then this is tailor made entertainment. If you’re looking for coherent substance then you have little choice but to look elsewhere.