I kept hearing this was the most violent of samurai films and uh, yeah they were not lying. Most bloody? No, but if you want hack and slash to the 100th power look no further. The odd thing about this movie aside from the ending itself is that our main character that we follow from the first to last shot is not a hero, or even an anti-hero, but a full on villain. Now on one hand I greatly appreciate this, film no matter where it originates from hardly ever has the balls to make a villain the main character. And not even a fall from grace, was once a hero but is now a villain, no no no you get a complete sociopathic blood thirsty samurai. Tatsuya Nakadai has well proven his place as one of the best japanese actors I've seen and if that wasn't a cemented fact before, this movie just further proved it. It's like Anton Chigurh but a ronin, like that level of scary crazy. And to be perfectly honest this film fully understands the term 'cinematic', the shots are spectacular in every sense, and know how to build tension when called for, it just looks un-f***ing-believable. So the stroy as I said follows this ronin character as he leaves bodies and vendettas in his wake, and one particular warrior seeks vengeance for his brother and undergoes training to defeat a seemingly impossibly strong foe. So basically it's every western movie ever but instead of the revenge seeking gunslinger, you follow the murderous bandit for the film's duration. That's brilliant. The action might just be the best I've seen, with long takes and tracking shots through waves of enemies that incorporates a bit more blood with the classic quick slash deaths. By the end there was not a doubt in my mind that this psychotic sword wielding bastard racked up more kills in one movie than Jason Voorhee's movies combined, and the movie actually ends in the middle a fight scene. Not a cliffhanger, not a conclusion, but while knee deep in death. The story behind that was this was supposed to be the beginning of a trilogy but the sequel never got off the ground and even the original story was so long that the author couldn't even finish it before he died, so it's inconclusive on all fronts but did it affect my overall enjoyment? No, not at all. It was a trip to see this horrible man just live it up in his twisted reality and to not really get a comeuppance. Again, very much like Anton in No Country For Old Men. I heard this was the most bloody samurai film ever made but after seeing this and the little fact that the next movie I'm reviewing is called Lady Snowblood, I'm gonna hold that reservation. Easily 4 stars across the board, 8.5/10, it's a 2 hour movie that does not stop and does not disappoint.