Afro Samurai: Resurrection
After winning the numbah one headband, Afro has fallen into depression and spends his days as a hermit, carving out statues of his past victims. Then Jinno- and don't bother to ask how he's still alive- literally drags him out of his solitude to throw him at the feet of his sister, Sio. She wants revenge on Afro for all the people he has killed and the lives he has ruined, and she wants it in the most convoluted fashion imaginable. Afro must take the numbah one headband back from her, and to do that, he must find the numbah two headband. And he's got to hurry, because Sio is planning to use some wicked scientific mojo to resurrect Afro's dad and torture him.
Still following this? Well, it gets worse.
Heeeeeeeeeeeee's baaaaaaaack. After Gonzo and FUNimation scored a home run in a tough year, it was obvious that a sequel was quickly on its way. And so here we are again, roughly two years after the original Afro Samurai aired on Spike, with Samuel L. Jackson back as the voice for the bad-ass swordmaster who conquered a cabal of cloned freaks, a robot lookalike and a manic, pistol-shootin' warrior to avenge his father and take the Numbah One headband. Hell yeah! Great bloody job Afro!
So, uh, now what do we do? I mean, Afro, you avenged your father, and killed pretty much everyone who stood in your way, and some people who just happened to be there. You have the numbah one headband! What more could you possibly do, bro?
Writing a sequel to something as easily self-contained as the original five-part series couldn't have been an easy task. Our hero has done everything he could possibly do. Gonzo has my sympathies for tackling the near-impossible task of trying to make something extracurricular feel just as compelling as the original five-part series. But I'm not going to give them any sympathy for what they did produce, which has one of the crappiest scripts I have ever seen. No amount of high quality production values and top-shelf voice acting is going to save you when you've got that. Not even my raving fanboi love of kick-ass samurai action helped me enjoy this movie. In some ways, this is what I was afraid the original Afro Samurai would be: a bloody mess of gratuitous action and boobs held together by a flimsy plot. In some ways, it's even worse than that.
One of the obvious issues is the sequel's inconsistency with the original series. If you read my synopsis up top carefully, you would have noticed something odd. Sio snatches the numbah one headband from Afro, who doesn't put up a fight because he's so depressed.. Then she tells him to go find the numbah two headband. Catch something odd there? Yup, how could Sio challenge Afro for the numbah one headband when she doesn't own the numbah two headband herself? This is the most blatant example of sloppiness from the Gonzo crew in conceiving this sequel, but it's not the only one.
And Sio herself is a real drag. She is little more than a mess of stereotypes clobbered together and packaged with a ginormous helping of cheesecake. Part of what made the original Afro Samurai so much fun was that Justice was a compelling villain. He was freaky; he was menacing. He had three arms and was a hot shot with pistols, and he had a face that would keep Freddy Kreuger up at night. Sio looks like one of million big boobed anime babes, and she carries a short knife, a long grudge and a host of family issues. A compelling action movie needs a good villian, and Resurrection failed to make one.
Some people thought that the original Afro Samurai's plot was too rushed, simply charging from one fight to another to another. Personally, I thought a bare-bones plot worked in the series favor, mostly because that let it focus on where it really shined: action, action, and more action. That doesn't happen in Resurrection, which has a clunky and convoluted plot. It meanders, drags, diverts, stops, stutters, and then charges toward an unsightly end. It's a pain to watch. Part of how messy the series is may have to do with how Resurrection was conceived: Spike wanted it to be a movie that could be divided into three thirty minute episodes. But even then, it shouldn't have been this messy.
Production values don't mean squat when coupled with a script as bad as this one. Here's hoping the inevitable third installment is an improvement. — Bradley Meek
Recommended Audience: Production values don't mean squat when coupled with a script as bad as this one. Here's hoping the inevitable third installment is an improvement.
Version(s) Viewed: Pre-recorded television premier
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Afro Samurai: Resurrection © 2009 Gonzo Entertainment, FUNimation
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