Review: 'Kingdom' Starring Kento Yamazaki, Ryo Yoshizawa, And Kanna Hashimoto

Kingdom is about a young orphan named Li Xin (Kento Yamazaki) during the warring states period of China. After his best friend, Piao returns to him dying Li Xin must journey with Ying Zheng (Ryo Yoshizawa)to reclaim his throne from his treacherous brother Cheng Jiao (Kanata Hongō). Li Xin and Piao (also Ryo Yoshizawa, he dies as the King’s double) had a shared dream of becoming the greatest generals in the world through their sword fighting ability. Ying Zheng’s dream is to unify China into one country. The main course of the film is how Li Xin and Ying Zheng come together so that their dreams can come together for each of their goals. During this journey the two gain allies and engage in many battles to reclaim Zheng’s throne. Now honestly this movie starts out pretty slow, being this movie is based on a successful manga you can tell with how the story flows and how the character act. Li Xin is pretty impetuous and annoying at times like you’d expect from a shonen manga hero like Naruto or Asta from Black Clover. Li Xin can overcome any obstacle in his mind because he never gives up and he tough. That’s it. His character is very simple and has clear emotions. His best friend Piao dies so he hates everyone that causes it and mourns his friend with huge tears constantly. Ying Zheng is cool and calculated, always level headed yet can seem like an asshole. Much of the other characters are a bit one-note but are entertaining.

The film really gets going in the second hour as they go full into a war battle movie. At this point, the characters stop stagnating in how they are trying to cement the dynamic between the two main characters and the one tag-along character He Liao Diao who’s the comic relief through most of the film. Here the actors really get to show their characters more than in any of the talk scenes, you understand the stakes once all these characters begin their forward push into the city to take the throne back. The action here is great and clear. Now even though all these characters are Chinese this is a Japanese movie with Japanese actors so the action here isn’t set like you’d expect from the China martial arts epic but more like those in Japan. A lot of jumping and wirework with people doing feats that you’d expect to see in an anime or a video game from Japan. While you don’t get a lot of tight combat choreography but sweeping swordplay with heroes overcoming distinct and cool looking foes. The movie ends leaving you feeling good as the heroes win and the bad guys lose with set up for more and I’d be interested in watching this continue. This movie is fun and at times a bit goofy but still an energetic action period movie. It was definitely worth going to go see.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5