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Overall Rating

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

4 reviews, 58 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"You simply won't believe how many villains this woman kills."
4 stars

While staring at my "Must-See" Checklist for the festival, it was Takeshi Kitano's remake of "Zatoichi" that had me most intrigued, Asian-flick-Action-wise, anyway. And while "Z" turned out to be a pretty big disappointment, my evening was salvaged by this one, the previously overlooked and wholly stunning "Azumi".

Azumi is just over two hours long. I watched it 1.75 times. I'm still not entirely sure what the plot is about, but I do know one thing:

If long, fluid sequences of amazingly ass-kicking swordplay; scenes that last a long time and build momentum with each successive neck-slashing; expansive and majestic displays of astonishingly exciting carnage; nearly all of it committed by a dainty-looking Asian lovely who looks no more threatening than a baby deer...

If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, pencil some time in for Azumi, if and when you're ever able to find it. These days an Asian film is either picked up by Miramax and plunked onto a shelf...or it debuts on DVD eight months after you started hearing about how cool it is.

And Azumi is quite simply a whole lotta cool. Directed by the relative newcomer who also gave us greedy Gorehounds that Karate/Horror hybrid known as Versus, and absolutely laden with the sort of high-flying hysterics that Hollywood simply doesn't produce anymore....

Why not? Too damn violent! And in an industry where Bad Boys 2 is considered a 'good action movie'... Bah, I digress.

Azumi is our heroine. As played by Aya Ueto, she's both achingly beautiful and simply deadly to fight against. This is no "whack the bad guy with a crate" sort of Charlie's Angels confection. Azumi is simply faster and better with a sword than anyone. And damn if she doesn't prove it about 475 times.

The plot is a collection of feudal squabbles and Shogun Assassins. All you need to know is that Azumi is the good guy (gal) and she has a few sidekicks. Everyone else is food for the sword. And Azumi's sword gets fed a lot.

Ryuhei Kitamura's directorial sense is, at least in the action scenes (which comprise perhaps 60% of the film), resoundingly exciting and consistently cool. CGI is applied on special occasions, yet those moments of trickery are dwarfed by the sheer spectacle of characters in motion. It's like you're at the ballet, only with swords and several severed jugulars.

For a pure ice-water jolt of action-movie insanity, few things I've seen in recent years come close to the sheer splatter-fest spectacle of "Azumi". I may not know a whole lot about Japanese cinema, but I know a phenomenal action sequence when I see one. And this movie's got, like, 7 of 'em.

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originally posted: 01/26/04 21:00:07
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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
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  21-Jul-2006 (NR)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2008



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