Black Fox-Age of the Ninja
We all like a good Ninja film don't we?
Well even though there may not be many about nowadays unlike in the 80's Ninja film boom, I always look forward to any new offerings.
Here we have a film from the land of the rising sun which is based on an Anime film released a few months prior.
Fittingly this live-action film acts as a prequel to the Anime Black Fox, so before viewing the anime this live-action film looks like a good place to start.
Now the last Ninja films I watched from Japan were the ones starring the High Kick Girl herself Rina Takeda and a few others released about the same time like Alien vs Ninja.
These were lower-budget fare compared to some of the bigger Japanese films doing the rounds at that time.
But one thing they had was some action to entertain even though stories and budget were low.
Upon viewing the opening scenes of Black Fox I thought! this falls in the same category as those lower budget films from a production-looking value.
But after watching for about fifteen minutes I was pleasantly surprised to see that this film falls somewhat midway between a lower budget fare and a big Blockbuster.
The inclusion of some good actors and a few special effects spiced up the proceedings somewhat.
Costume wise I found it a bit hit and miss, while some characters looked dressed fit for purpose and period, others looked slightly out of place like they ran out of providing good costumes to everyone due to budget.
The story follows a young girl named Miya who possesses a secret power that her father is helping her manage.
As time passes her father is attacked and she runs for her life.
It's here Miya bids to find the Foxes, a band of Ninjas for hire, as she wants to avenge her father.
After a traumatic journey, she comes to the Foxes compound. It's here she meets Rikka who introduces her to the Clan's leader Hyoe Isurugi, played here by legendary Japanese actor and Martial artist Yasuaki Kurata, yes he of Fist of Legend and Millionaires Express fame.
Revealing her goal the clan agrees to help Miya, but at that moment the Negouroshu who are hot on the trail of Miya bust in and a confrontation begins.
It is here that the films pro's start to shine as the character of Rikka gets to shine with some fluid moves stylised in Swordplay and Traditional Jiujitsu.
Plus a small scene with Hyoe Isurugi (Kurata) proves he still has the moves in his later years, hey he's a legend.
Hyoe leaves Rikka to defend Miya and fight the leaders of the Negouroshu on her todd as he wants her to prove she is worthy of leading the clan when he has passed.
Unfortunately, Rikka does not believe in killing and uses the blunt edge of her sword to inflict as much damage as possible, things take a turn for the worse when it's left to Miya to unleash her power to save the day.
Rikka must overcome her shortcomings and find a new way to confront her foes and demons if she is to help Miya.
It's through her late father's inventions and memories that she will be reborn as the Black Fox and rid the land of the dubious acts of Lord Burado who wants to harness Miya's power for his own.
But to do this Rikka will have to face off against the Negouroshu and the local Police as well as their leader Shigetsugu Toda, who also happens to be a Master Swordsman.
Black Fox is a fun 90 minutes or so. The action comes thick and fast and some of it is really well shot. Some of it suffers from some quick cuts but for the most part, it entertains.
Rikka's persona as the Black Fox is pretty cool and fits well within its Anime linage. This basically means Young girls in short skirts kicking arse with weapons and bolts of lightning.
Each of the main characters seems to have a catchphrase that they spurt out now and again, much like that of video game characters in VS fighting games which I found quite novel.
So yeah I enjoyed it.
Review by: Sertes Nake
Date January: 2022
Directed by, Koichi Sakamoto
Choreographer: Koichi Sakamoto
Starring: Chihiro Yamamoto as Rikkia Isurugi / Black Fox
Maimi Yajima as Miya
Sakaraku Okubo as Arisa / Maid
Mami Fujioka as Haku leader of the Negouroshu
Yuki Kubota as Shigetsugu Toda: head of the Police patrol and master swordsman
Hideo Ishiguro as BURADO: Lord of the region and general Bastard
Yasuaki Kurata as Hyoe Isurugi: Rikka Grandfather and leader of the Fox Ninja Clan.
Run Time: 93 Mins / Language: Japanese.
Black Fox has young girls in short skirts kicking arse with weapons and bolts of lightning.
So Yeah we enjoyed it.