top of page
  • Hamish Hart

Shogun (2024) Series Review

RATING: 9/10

SHOGUN gets new life imbued into it as FX reimagines James Clavell's classic novel and mini-series set in "The Land of the Rising Sun". And while acclaimed-actor Richard Chamberlain took centre stage in the inaugural on-screen adaptation, each player feels as important as the last in this most recent game of politics - no matter which land they hail.



Loosely based on the exploits of the first Englishmen to make first contact with Japan, Shogun follows John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), a barbarian who finds himself both a player and pawn in feudal Japan when Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) enlists Blackthorne's aid to extinguish plots that could end his struggle to become top leader, or Shogun.


For those hoping FX would follow the same path of Richard Chamberlain's 1980s Shogun, prepare to be disappointed. Instead this remake massively bucks the trend to produce a gritty, more modern version of a story designed to be grounded in realism. Despite this ten-episode series only reaching episode three at time of writing, Shogun has already proven itself to be 2024's first must-watch show, pertaining an aura of early series Game of Thrones with its masterful writing, complex characters and high-budget action sequences. Hiroyuki Sanada commands a demanding presence in this leading role as Lord Toranaga, becoming arguably becoming more of a lead character than the marooned John Blackthorne. His performance as Toranaga makes the character feel as important as he should considering he was, inexplicitly, a side character in the original adaption; a fate most suffered in Chamberlain's original series. Head series director Jonathan van Tulleken must have noticed this indiscretion and did his very best to make every single character as important as the last; a feat all directors and writers involved achieved.


Not only is Cosmo Jarvis' Blackthorne presented as an important character - his translator, Mariko (Anna Sawai) and unforeseen allies Lord Toranaga and Kashigi Yabushige (Tadanobu Asano) are all equally shown to be pivotal to the progression of the story. Mariko, in particular, is given much more depth this time around, shown to be a character with understandable intentions all aided by a humanising performance given by New Zealand actress Anna Sawai.


If you're even slightly hesitant about checking out FX's remake of James Clavell's classic novel, don't be. While its lack of an English dub for large portions may turn some away, those who stick with Shogun will be treated to one of the best in recent years - and we're not even halfway through.

Comments


About Me

Hamish newsheadshot_edited.jpg

Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

Posts Archive

bottom of page