Usually for the site I end up reviewing anime titles, however lately I’ve been branching out and I guess experimenting with other titles. 13: Game of Death was one such title. Imprint was another. With Sword of Alexander it feels a little like coming home to anime as the story, action and special effects all feel like it’s a live action adaptation of an anime or Manga. It’s not though. It’s based on a novel. I still believe it would make a great anime series though.
The mythology of the film goes like this: in the time of Alexander the Great a meteorite struck the earth made of a metal called Orichalcum. This metal was melted down and reforged into three items of great power a Christian like cross on a necklace, a short dagger and a big sword (I think it’s a claymore) that came to be known as the Sword of Alexander. After Alexander’s death the three items of great supernatural power were separated and fought over, until they made their way to Feudal Japan.
During this time of strife and civil war Yorozu Genkurou the wielder of the Sword ends up running into a princess for one side of the fighting. The strange thing though is that this princess has been possessed… by an alien. It seems that while a war is going on, on earth another is going on in the celestial heavens above us. With all the sides – both and human and alien – searching for the three Orichalcum artefacts it isn’t long before Genkurou the princess and her idiot bodyguard end up being confronted by all manner of people including a clumsy bumbling ninja, a bug man, a samurai that is supposedly male but looks a lot like a woman and a zombie bear/man alien possession… thing all looking to get their hands on Genkurou’s massive sword. All this and more plus it’s narrated by what sounds like a Japanese Stephen Fry.
By now you’ve probably guessed that SOA is not even attempting to be high art, performances and production values are kind of low like the aforementioned zombie bear/man thing the transformation effects are downright terrible as is a fight in the last act with a giant green combatant that is very obviously CGI. Is this a problem? No, because the film isn’t even pretending to be anything other than a cheap piece of entertainment with some laughs and violence. If it had tried to insist that it was better than it’s brethren it would have felt cheaper than it actually is.
When I first watched Sword of Alexander I didn’t give it much of a chance it was only with a second viewing that I grew to enjoy it that little bit more. It’s cheaply made dumb fun that reminds me of Ninja Scroll only with less violence and less misogyny and more attempts at humour that don’t always work but sometimes do. Go in with an open mind and some mirth seeking friends and you also might have an okay time with this film.