It Should Be A Movie By Now: Samurai Jack

good vs. evil plain and simple
good vs. evil plain and simple

Yes yes, I went for a much more recent cartoon this time around but can you blame me? Samurai Jack is a cartoon of epic proportions! Who reading this site hasn’t seen this show? No really, if you haven’t seen this show I want you need to at least see the first episode. Perhaps if there had been a movie made by now of this awesomeness then you would  have immediately gone to your nearest internet enabled device and ordered all 4 seasons from Amazon.

Here, maybe this will help you understand:


Believe it or not, you can actually catch the first season on YouTube thanks to an originally named channel called “Samurai Jack Episode”. So what’s the show about? Well if you ignored the YouTube clip above (shame on you), the show is about the title character Jack (who is a Samurai) that has been trapped in other times/dimensions by his nemesis the evil wizard Aku and his quest to return home. But enough about the show, the real reason I loved this as a teenager was the animation. The cinematic style and what they call “masking-based” animation was what really reeled me in. Genndy Tartakovsky really spoke to me with his clever use of oil and ooze to replace what should’ve been blood spurting out from Jack’s slain enemies. Thanks to this kind of animation and style we were given a show with an incredible amount of violence and action that was able to avoid cancellation and censorship.

Jack knows how to tear stuff up!
Jack knows how to tear stuff up!

Why isn’t there a movie yet? I read that there were plans to release a normal 2D animated feature film that would tie up the series and give Jack his due, but those plans have since fell through. In a recent interview with Genndy, he said that he still has hopes for a full length movie but I’m not going to hold out a lot of hope there. Time and time again we are given these little tidbits and we get excited like a kid on Christmas morning, only to find out that instead of getting the Black Castle set of LEGOs we got the little add on box with a wagon and horse. (uh oh, I think I’m sharing too much)

Ok, let’s get back on track here – why isn’t there a live action Samurai Jack!? I think it’s a pretty easy and a solid sell. Let’s look at what makes a good action movie:

  • Good Guy – CHECK
  • Bad Guy – CHECK
  • Half Real/Half Sci-Fi Plot – CHECK
  • Blood – CHECK
  • Violence – CHECK
  • Epic Back Story – CHECK
  • Twist – (well … we never did get a definite ending … CHECK – maybe)

*Side note, my wife just asked me what I was writing about. I replied, “I’m writing about Samurai Jack, an awesome show that was on my freshmen year of college…” to which she replied, “you watched cartoons in college?” She then proceeded to laugh.

  • Hurt Feelings – CHECK

My casting list for this is easy, for Jack I would cast the ever popular Daniel Dae Kim (otherwise known as Jin from LOST) because he has that stern eyebrow look down to a science. For the evil Aku, I think that anyone could really be him considering there would be tons of prosthetics, makeup, or CGI to pull off how he looks. With that said, I think that James Hong would probably fit the bill nicely.

the most devoted husband ever
the most devoted husband ever
I couldn’t have asked for a better picture

How awesome would it be to have a modern action film done with a old school Japanese Samurai movie twist? The style and art just beg for the big screen. Give it a good script and follow my casting leads and I think that it’s at least a start. If anything, look at this simple fact – the show was great enough to win 4 Primetime Emmy Awards, you think that it could garner a live action movie by now. Where’s Guillermo when ya need him?

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One Comment

  1. I too very much enjoyed this cartoon! Having our younger brother be ten years younger helped us to not miss out on a lot of stuff that I’m glad we witnessed. I like the casting choice of the villain, but I don’t know about Jack…

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