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Wisconsin Film Festival

Thursday, April 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 37.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Afro Samurai: Flawed but enchanting
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Rated Mature)

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He is Afro Samurai. He seeks to slay the "No. 1" samurai, who killed his father. En route, everyone sinister comes slicing for Afro.

Afro Samurai is, as we say, a hack-and-slash. You stab a steely red sword through rivals' throats. You kick them to death with tae kwon do efficacy.

Blood gushes out of necks. Gushes! The hack-and-slash is entertaining enough, although the game controls are sluggish at times, and things get clumsy-hard late, marring what could have been a classic game.

Give credit to Afro Samurai's original manga artist, Takashi Okazaki, for turning his manga into a miniseries, now this game. But it took a full crew at Namco Bandai's Surge Games to make Afro playable cinema.

Afro and his constant companion, Ninja Ninja, are voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, who produced the miniseries. If you remember the 12-letter cuss word Jackson used for laughs in past movies, imagine it here, too, as he spouts randy, insulting and hilarious rants.

The game is brilliantly illustrated, acted, paced, scored, directed and written, although game play is merely good and sometimes frustrating. Afro Samurai is flawed, yes, but enchanting.

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