Even if you’re into the Samurai Shodown series, you’d be wise to stay far away from this weak adaptation.
Every popular fighting game series has its own movie. After all, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Fatal Fury have all been adapted to film (in some cases, several times.) Of course, Samurai Shodown is no exception to this rule and despite not being as popular as some of the aforementioned, this franchise has two anime movies. So is Samurai Shodown: The Motion Picture remotely interesting to watch? The short answer is absolutely not.
During a bloody war that took place in Japan during the Warring States period, a sudden Earthquake erupts, alerting fighters from all over the world of an impending doom. The violent tremor signals that a magical seal has been broken, releasing the Dark God of Ambrosia. The god was resurrected by one of the holy warriors, called Amakusa, who was supposed to prevent that very thing from happening. After this betrayal, Amakusa assassinates all the remaining holy warriors, but she’s unable to destroy their souls. A hundred years pass since this incident and evil warrior Amakusa finds out that some holy warriors have resuscitated and she starts a manhunt before they can join forces to try and defeat her. The Holy Warriors, on the other hand, team up so that they can defeat Amakusa once and for all.
Samurai Shodown’s story seldom makes any sense and I feel like the movie’s constantly making something up so that everything falls into place (there’s magic, ancient prophecies, fireballs, reincarnation, amnesic characters and whatever is convenient for the story to move on.) Such a ridiculous story is something you’d want to watch in a Saturday morning cartoon, not necessarily a fully fledged 85-minute feature film.
The nonsensical plot is accompanied by some of the most monotonous characters you can think of. After all, we don’t get to know the names of some of the characters, let alone anything else about them, like their personal struggles or motivations other that the fact that they have to kill all the bad dudes. So everything feels more like an excuse so that they can fight each other than anything else and unfortunately, the fights are as believable as the story. The characters channel their energy into magical attacks, which means they can summon thunder, tornadoes or fire and there’s never a convincing explanation for this. The fact that the characters can do all that isn’t necessarily a problem, after all, there have been several anime and fighting games whose characters possess magical powers. The problem is that I never thought that the protagonists were in any real danger.
So Samurai Shodown is a movie whose story is more and more incomprehensible as the minutes go by, the characters are just there, the animation ranges from mediocre to absolutely terrible and there’s not a single memorable moment I can think of. Even if you’re into the Samurai Shodown series, you’d be wise to stay far away from this weak adaptation.