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Azumi (2003)

Cast: Aya Ueto, Kenji Kobashi, Hiroki Narimiya, more...
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura, Ryuhei Kitamura
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Urban Vision
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English

Azumi (2003)
Orphaned as a little girl, Azumi (Aya Ueto) is raised in the forest with a group of ten children by their master (Yoshio Harada), who trains them to be peerless assassins. Azumi and Nachi (Shun Oguri) are the strongest of the fighters. When the group comes of age, the master gives them one final test. He tells them to team up with the person to whom they feel closest. Then he tells them to kill that person, explaining that an assassin never gets to choose whom to kill. The teens reluctantly fight to the death. Then the survivors are brought out of the woods to begin their work, assassinating the corrupt warlords who are preventing peace in the land. The assassins, particularly Azumi, perform their missions with flair, but complications arise. One of the teens (Takatoshi Kaneko) is poisoned by a ninja's blade, one (Kenji Kohashi) falls in love with a circus performer (Aya Okamoto), and Azumi begins to question her desire to live the violent life of an assassin. Meanwhile, one warlord (Naoto Takenaka) cleverly escapes their blades, and together with his bodyguard Kenbei (Kazuki Kitamura) and a "monkey-faced" ninja, Saru (Minoru Matsumoto), they find Bijomaru (J Odagiri from Bright Future), a violent madman, release him from prison, and unleash him upon the young team of assassins. Azumi, based on the manga by Yu Koyama, is the first of cult director Ryuhei Kitamura's (Versus) films to be made within the Japanese studio system. It was shown at the 2004 New York Asian Film Festival, presented by Subway Cinema. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

Azumi (Bonus Disc) (2003)
Young assassins trained in seclusion emerge with a mission to thwart another civil war by killing three rebellious lords. But when one of their targets turns the tables on them, it comes down to the strongest assassin, Azumi, to face an entire army.

GreenCine Member Ratings

Azumi (2003)
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6.41 (59 votes)
Azumi (Bonus Disc) (2003)
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7.80 (5 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

skip it, IMHO by Popnfresh July 24, 2007 - 2:00 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
B-grade. High production values and low, low talent. The first 20 minutes of setup are tough to sit through, with cringe-worthy dialog and costumes out of a Japanese Peter Pan. The movie gets marginally better from there, when dialog gives way to action. The fight scenes = quick camera cuts and sped up film (to demonstrate how super-fast super-gorgeous Azumi is), and no parrying or blocking, just slashing and crashing.

The superficiality and lack of detail disrespect the audience. We can all appreciate lovely Japanese girls, but i'm not sure village women in post-1600 Japan were all flawless beauties that prioritized proper skin care over daily survival. Walk through downtown Tokyo tomorrow, and you won't find the kind of flawless dental work that these villagers and mountain-folk sport.

There are so many Japanese swordplay films, mostly from the 50-70s era, from popcorn flicks like Zatoichi 1-26 and Lone Wolf and Cub 1-6, to more serious films by Kurosawa and Inagaki. With so many choices, I don't know why you'd need to waste 2 hours on this film. That's 123 minutes, man!

If you're looking for something fresh, with a modern gloss try Samurai Fiction or Dora Heita, which are far more humorous and fun. Or try a serious film, like When the Last Sword is Drawn.

Kick-Ass Fun That's Simply Gorgeous to View by talltale November 27, 2006 - 3:18 PM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
One of those Japanese genre-defying films that mingles a little Battle Royale with a little Harry Potter with a lot of Samurai swordplay, AZUMI is a tremendously enjoyable treat whose two-hours-plus fly as fast as does the title character: a nifty girl warrior who undergoes some growing, learning, sadness, loss and a peck of kick-ass fighting and killing along the way. Visually, the movie is a knock-out--with wonderful color, composition, snazzy editing and fast, fast action. This one, which kind of snuck into the USA under the radar, is a lot more enjoyable than a number of better-reviewed Asian films of the past year or two, whether they be from Hong Kong, Japan, China or Korea. If I understood the Japanese culture better, I'm sure my enjoyment would have doubled. As it is, this is one of the "finds" of the year.

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