Edward Elric and his brother Al are back and this time, they face their greatest threat in the form of Mackenyu’s titular subtitle character.
The “Fullmetal Alchemist” Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse, whose soul is trapped in a robot body, are on a train when they confronted by a group of mercenaries looking for Führer King Bradley. The Elrics fight off against the group but in the midst of battle, Edward is shocked to learn that the shapeshifter Envy is back. Upon their arrival, the brothers learn that there is a new threat in town that the government names “Scar”.
“Scar” is a serial killer whose targets are alchemists. He feels the alchemists should pay for being against God. Scar has a long-suffering history, having been the survivor of a deadly war. However, traumatized and hellbent on seeking revenge against anyone involved in alchemy, Scar finds Edward to be a worthy adversary. Edward and Alphonse’s attempts against Scar prove to be futile as his powers are stronger than they can take. To attempt to defeat Scar, Edward must trace back to Scar’s past in hopes to understand him and perhaps possibly get through to him. However, Scar becomes the least of Edward’s problems.
Five years after his live-action debut, Edward Elric and his brother are back for the first of a 2-part finale of the live-action franchise. This second film serves as a true middle piece, one that relies more on the dramatic elements rather than go all-out action. And in a way that’s okay, but there are times when the film feels a little slow in certain points. At a run time of 125 minutes, it felt like it could have been shaved off by 15 to 20 minutes. However, as mentioned, it does bring to mind Halloween Kills as a true middle piece to lead up to a third and final installment.
If there are two major pluses in the film, it is the performances of Ryosuke Yamada as the returning Edward and Mackenyu as Scar. For Yamada, he gets to showcase himself again even getting to show some comic relief throughout the film when he’s not kicking butt through his alchemy skills. However, it is when he is in the emotional scenes involving Scar. There is a emotional and funny scene involving Edward reuniting with his estranged father at the gravesite of his mother, which leads to Edward taking off his trademark ponytail when his dad compliments him on his hair.
As for Mackenyu, the son of the late Sonny Chiba, is quickly becoming the next Masaki Suda in terms of his appearances in live-action anime and manga adaptations. After a thrilling villainous turn in Rurouni Kenshin: The Final last year, Mackenyu once again shines as a villain and is the other saving grace of the film. As Scar, Mackenyu is introduced in such a fantastic way when he is seen going after his first victim. His action against Edward is exciting to watch, until his escape move seems a bit redundant at times. However, with Knights of the Zodiac, the live-action Saint Seiya movie; and the upcoming One Piece series on Netflix, it is clear we have the next live-action manga/anime king on the way and if this film has anything to do with it, well, wait for Fullmetal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy where he will return as Scar. There’s also the return of the villains of the first film, who have a grudge to hold against Edward and Alphonse, which leads to a possible alliance between Scar and the immortals.
In essence, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Revenge of Scar is a true middle piece and first part of a 2-film finale. However, it tends to drag a little at times and feels meh. The action set pieces are nicely done with the visual effects. Ryosuke Yamada returns in true form and Mackenyu once again shines as a manga/anime villain. Not a bad film, but certain bits just tend to drag. Let’s hope The Final Alchemy brings the franchise back to form.
WFG RATING: B-
A Warner Bros. Japan production. Director: Fumihiko Sori. Producer: Yumiko Yoshihara. Writers: Fumhiko Sori and Takeshi Miyamoto; based on the manga created by Hiromu Arakawa. Cinematography: Keiji Hashimoto. Editing: Chieko Suzaki.
Cast: Ryosuke Yamada, Tsubasa Honda, Dean Fujioka, Misako Renbutsu, Kanata Hongo, Yuina Kuroshima, Mackenyu, Atom Mizuishi (voice)