Kendo's First-Ever Movie "The English Samurai" - Review

How should 50 years of mystery and mayhem and utter dominance of British Professional Wrestling be celebrated? Where do you begin explaining one of the most secretive, enigmatic, and successful sportsmen ever? However you choose to do this, it's going to be a challenge, but, in typical defiance of any such difficulties, Kendo Nagasaki's first-ever movie, "The English Samurai", has finally given us a glimpse into his strange and amazing world.

The movie kicks-off with Kendo's ominous beginnings on Friday 13th November 1964, and, paralleling his own break-neck career, the pace never lets-up! The atmosphere of the film is established immediately as an exciting and dynamic documentary-style insight into the many facets of the mystery man, all set over exquisite arrangements of his own original motivating musical "Anthem" as composed by Jonathan Smeed.

The movie introduces us to previously-undisclosed aspects of Kendo's history, including never-before-seen revelations about the man behind his mask, and then the mysticism is opened-up; after a crash-course in reincarnation and destiny and fated relationships(!), we witness Kendo performing an empowering dawn ritual in the grounds of his beautiful Retreat, and then meditating as the sun rises, masked... For those who have speculated over so many years about the mysteries of Nagasaki, these new revelations make it all begin to fall into place - the sword, the armour, the mask, communicating with his ancestors, the samurai ferocity - all these things are seen to be but smaller aspects of a deep and all-encompassing philosophy: for the first time ever, Nagasaki's mysticism can be seen to be the real thing, and the true source of his power.

Having established the mystical foundations to all of Nagasaki's life, we are moved-on to the preparations for that day - and it's a significant one: Kendo's last-ever wrestling match in Wolverhampton. But, once again, because it's Kendo we're observing, these activities, too, are far from ordinary. It's known that Kendo has always genuinely appreciated his fans and followers, and we find him in his exquisite office autographing hand-out pictures for them. Then, collecting Mr. Lawrence and a surprisingly quiet Atlantis Chronos Goth, Kendo's current spokes-person, it's into his personal stretch limo for the journey to Wolverhampton.

It's at this point that we are reminded that there's so much more to Kendo than meets they eye - however disarming and calm he may appear, he's still dangerous and strategic; on the journey to Wolverhampton, Kendo reviews his last match on the TV in the limo, planning how best to demolish his opponents at their next meeting in just a few hours... The tension rises ever higher as we share highlights of the brutal Hanley Ladder Match held a couple of weeks earlier...

Once at Wolverhampton, we get to see just how obliging Kendo is for the media, as photographer after photographer, and television cameras and even radio stations pursue him for their own headline or airtime-grabbing scoops. It's an interesting insight into how this aspect of celebrity status makes a day much more involved and laden with obligations.

But now, having been elegantly and educationally-framed by the introductory material, we get to see where everything about Kendo zooms-in to pin-point focus - even before it's begun, we all know that we're about to witness absolute domination, astounding skill, and brutal strength in the wrestling ring! There is an excellent match commentary provided by Rob Cope, and a great many camera angles capture every nuance, twist, and turn of the match itself - and it's a good thing too, because the action is blisteringly fast-paced, and not always in the ring! For complex reasons, it ends up being a tag-match with Nagasaki partnered by his long-time tag-team partner, Blondie Barrett, but even when Kendo is supposed to be safely on his tag-rope, both his hapless opponents foolishly fail to be adequately wary of the masked marauder, get too close, and end up paying a mighty price! The match as a whole includes everything we've come to love and loathe about Kendo Nagasaki - he's wily, skilful, immensely powerful, uncompromisingly brutal, and totally domineering, all served-up with only the barest respect for the rules! It's truly a classic Kendo match, excellently filmed and presented, and a worthy testimonial to his half-century career.

After the blistering match we are treated to many more amazing insights into the life of Kendo, including suddenly finding ourselves sat beside him in his Lamborghini as he tears through the English countryside! If, by now, you don't want to know more about what motivates this gigantic character, you must be virtually brain-dead, but we are then shown more about the past-life mysteries which inform him in the present. For the last few years, Kendo's website has claimed that he wanted to share the secrets of his own personal "empowerment", and we are shown how he's now seeking to pass-on the strength, focus, and determination that he's always demonatrated in the wrestling ring to those who would like to learn them. In making reference to Kendo's multiple appearances in the UK national press for his faith healing activities, it is once again made clear that Kendo's spiritual inclinations have genuine foundations and really can help others in many ways; it seems to be a very deep and advanced system, and he's invited anyone who wants to know more to come to his Retreat and be taught. ...intriguing...

In Sum, "Kendo Nagasaki - The English Samurai" is an astonishing film on many levels. Whatever you thought you knew, suspected, or had heard about Nagasaki simply pales into insignificance compared to witnessing the impact, extent, and depth of this expose. In addition to the ongoing currents of reincarnation from ancient Japan to present-day England, particularly memorable moments include a television journalist asking somewhat smart-ass questions, and then being dumb enough to ask Kendo to put him into a head-lock - he won't ask for that again! And, in pursuit of one of Kendo's mantras, "The Peace at the Heart of the Warrior", there is a singing-bowl performance by the spiritual samurai himself, which is both exquisitely peaceful and deeply moving. This is apparently one of the forms of meditation which make him what he is, and it's fascinating to see it close-up.

This movie is a tour-de-force - it's entertaining, challenging, astonishing, revealing - yet it clearly only scratches the surface of a fascinating phenomenon named Kendo Nagasaki. It bears multiple viewings, as, in keeping with Nagasaki himself, it's symbolic of an alternative perspective - from meditation comes strength, from the samurai come the examples of focus, power, and success, and from Nagasaki himself comes the promise of taking us all to higher and better things. Philosophy for life as well as an excellent fight in the middle? What more can possibly be asked of a movie?!?

See a Trailer and Get Your Copy HERE!


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