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Overall Rating
4.55

Awesome68.29%
Worth A Look: 19.51%
Average: 10.98%
Pretty Bad: 1.22%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 58 user ratings


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Azumi
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by Matt Mulcahey

"A tale of peace, honor and....allright, it's really about ass kicking."
3 stars

Ever notice the more an Asian action film insists itís about peace and honor, the more severed limbs, blood-spurting decapitations and general carnage that movie contains?

Azumi is a prime example of this paradox, featuring a team of young assassins trained since childhood to ensure peace in feudal Japan by brutally killing many, many, many people.

Actually, the youthful samurais (what the hell is the plural of samurai anyway?) initially intend to butcher just three warmongering warlords. However, by the time the last drop of blood has spewed like a volcano out of a gaping neck wound it seems like these barely-past-puberty assassins have killed off half the population of Japan.

These teen killing machines have been trained since childhood on a remote mountaintop to be slicing, dicing practitioners of badassery, molded under the tutelage of a warrior named Gessai (Yoshio Harada), who took on the task after his son was killed in a civil war between warlord factions.

But this dude isnít your usual kung-fu movie master.
He ignores the pleas of innocent peasants being slaughtered.
He leaves members of his samurai brood behind to die if they happen to be struck by as much as a single poisoned ninja throwing star.

When you get right down to it, heís pretty much the biggest prick in the whole movie.

So it ainít exactly heartbreaking when the titular character (played by Aya Ueto with an alluring mixture of swift lethality and pouty, knee-high wearing sexiness) leaves her mentor behind and strikes out on her own to even the score with a particularly vicious warlord and his crew of mercenaries.

There is a lot to like about Azumi.

The fight sequences are dazzling set pieces drenched in gleeful gore-dripping excess. The camerawork is full of crane-swooping, dolly track-gliding virtuosity. The mind-numbingly bloody finale, featuring Ueto and a flower-sniffing killer-for-hire (picture Boy George with a samurai sword) mowing down faceless extras by the dozens on a collision course for each other, is one of the most incredible mano a mano showdowns in recent memory.

But thereís also a lot not to like about this latest effort from Versus director Ryuhei Kitamura.

For one thing, itís too damn long. Two hours of kung fu, even good kung fu, is a bit much stomach when the pace is this slack.

And who wrote the subtitles? Itís pretty obvious from the awkward phrasing it wasnít an American, or at least not one with a firm grasp of English. Whoever it was also seems to think that us Yanks use some variation of ďguyĒ in every sentence.
Thatís ridiculous, guy.

But the grandest Azumi faux paus lies in its tone.

This is a comic-bookish, blood-spewing, sword-swinging extravaganza. With its poison-star throwing ninji (what the hell is the plural of ninja anyway?) and bizarre Boy George mercenaries, Azumi is about as rife for somber pretense as a sword-and-loin cloth classic like The Beastmaster.

Yet director Kitamura seems to think heís fashioning a carnage-drenched dramatic epic in the vein of Braveheart.

If your movie is really about nothing more than ass kicking, donít pretend thereís some broader theme. Just give me the ass kicking.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8553&reviewer=255
originally posted: 03/27/04 20:36:24
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/21/12 Golden J. Williams Jr. Azumi and the village of bandits fight scene was AWESOME! 5 stars
6/09/09 irwandiaz is there another movies like this?? 5 stars
11/01/08 Max Sloppy but fun 3 stars
2/13/07 AJ Muller This flick will walk up and down your ass. More twisted beauty from Japan. 5 stars
11/23/06 William Goss Solid swordplay, but just not very fun. 3 stars
9/19/06 Aldo Good story Good Action Good characters. If only asian cinema would produce more of this 5 stars
8/16/06 eunice _16 its pretty nice cool, azumi was so cool and awesome 5 stars
1/23/06 pauleen grace cana i really love azumi,especially nachi 5 stars
11/17/05 Tom Warner Well worth watching!! 5 stars
10/13/05 stella may emuy i very much like this movie coz i like the way they act.alll i can say it's really beautifu 5 stars
8/03/05 mocks nice movie 2 stars
7/06/05 Alex Espectacular, maravillosa, fantastica 5 stars
3/25/05 fern buenafe i like it is very good!!! ive never seen anything like that film ever!! 5 stars
3/21/05 cherry awesome!! i like her hair! 5 stars
1/27/05 Engar Unquestionably one of the best martial arts films I've seen - I'm in Love!! 5 stars
1/18/05 kicelda moore excellent 5 stars
1/02/05 christopher rante azumi is cute and very nice the is great and full of actions 5 stars
12/11/04 icy nice movie 4 stars
11/16/04 corvair Best movie!! 5 stars
11/13/04 Sittie Aisha Mabaning the movie is good... the plot is something new... 5 stars
11/11/04 Sean Mesler I agree that this movie is one of the most exciting movies I have ever seen... 5 stars
11/10/04 Lia Love it.. Cool fight scenes! And great cast! :) 5 stars
11/06/04 chocoryou Bijomaru scares me. Cool! 5 stars
11/05/04 jorge cosgayon aya ueto is frikkin' perfect 5 stars
10/26/04 malcolm a fucking blast 5 stars
10/01/04 Wodzu Just great !!! 5 stars
9/28/04 David Levine I concur, it was simply awesome, she is awesome and the cinematograpy/direction is awesome. 5 stars
9/13/04 james i really love azumi....(aya ueto)....shes the best of the best the movie is bloody awesome! 5 stars
9/07/04 Jun Sorioso If you're looking for an action film or if you're an anime fan, this is the movie to watch! 5 stars
9/04/04 yoji mendoza whew,,,this is a great movie!!!! 5 stars
8/31/04 carlos very amusing... i like aya very much!!!! 5 stars
8/24/04 Janie Lim Few teenage stars can do the role of Azumi as will as Aya Ueto 5 stars
7/29/04 marlon satorre highly recomended 5 stars
7/26/04 djheart ramos this movie is terrible and amasing movie, i like it.,. 5 stars
7/24/04 Jann Well done, cliched action movie 4 stars
7/18/04 Larry K Great characters, great action, good story. The villains are more colorful than the heroes. 5 stars
6/26/04 Dann Carter Awesome,interesting,great action, a great samurai film !! better than Princess Blade 5 stars
6/15/04 rogelio monis jr. bloody, hip, and dvine. 5 stars
6/09/04 Joel Cabute none 5 stars
5/30/04 Mark Great movie, awesome mass battle at the end and the story is better then people say imo. 5 stars
5/26/04 Mia BEST samurai movie I've seen. Odagiri was real hot in there. SEXY!!! 5 stars
5/25/04 Calypsobreeze 1/2 hr too long, forget a plot or coherent ending, ok fights 3 stars
5/09/04 azia i wish i am azum 5 stars
4/06/04 Oktarina Angela Azumi Film Is a great samurai film i ever seen, I love Aya Ueto and Jo Odagiri 5 stars
3/09/04 DaveV Action scenes are good to very good. Great story. The villain in white is fun. 5 stars
3/07/04 Budi Purwito Great... and sweet. 5 stars
2/25/04 Moi SO GOOD see it NOW!!! the man in white with the rose is the BEST!!!! 5 stars
2/24/04 JVuong Awesome. Emotion and action. Almost made me cry :( 5 stars
2/21/04 EMMANUEL ARIAS Filled with emotions, scences that impress; And no need for nudity! Hollywood take notes 5 stars
2/18/04 cooper Interesting movie. Sword fight can get better. fast forward in the movie is too obvious. 4 stars
2/18/04 zola AWESOME!!! 5 stars
2/16/04 Daniel Feldman Kill Who? Forget Bill, this is where its at!!!!! 5 stars
2/15/04 ryan sobrevinas Azumi is a great action film. Loved every second of it! Aya Ueto is my new goddess!!! 4 stars
2/14/04 Jason Ashley While there is a lot of action, the great acting & story is what makes it amazing. 5 stars
2/12/04 James Highly recommended, Best action/violence ever as of female heroine. AAA+++ 5 stars
2/05/04 steve hill i love killing and this movie gave it to me 5 stars
2/02/04 Jens This blows the shit out of "Kill Bill!" Amazing 5 stars
1/25/04 Xander I'm completely blown away, easily one of the coolest movies I've seen in a long time.... 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Jul-2006 (NR)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2008

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Jun-2004




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