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Black Belt (2007)
"Kuro-obi" (original title)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,071 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 11 critic

A Karate masters three students compete for to be the new master against events of historical events.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Akihito Yagi ...
Giryu
Tatsuya Naka ...
Taikan
Yûji Suzuki ...
Choei
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kenji Anan
Arashi Fukasawa ...
Kenta
Hakuryû ...
Police Captain Kiichi Tanihara
Rei Hanaoka
Atsushi Hida
Yû Kamio
Takayasu Komiya ...
Ohmoji
Tatsuya Mori
Atsuko Nakamura
Yôsuke Natsuki ...
Eiken Shibahara
Shin'ya Ohwada ...
Gouda Hidehisa
Hideyuki Satô
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Storyline

The events take place in 1932 in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, in which the corrupt leaders of the Japanese army are trying to take over all the Karate dojos for their own personal benefit. Amidst these circumstances the master of one of these dojos dies before passing on the Kuroobi to his successor, leaving three of his pupils the task of deciding amongst themselves who deserves it most. After they bury their master, they are forced to leave the dojo and join the Japanese army. At this point, their journey leads them on rather different paths both in life and in the understanding of their master's teachings of martial arts, only to reunite them at the end. Written by johanvos

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Real Fight, Real Karate, Real Japan.

Genres:

Action | Drama | Sport

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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 2007 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Black Belt  »

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User Reviews

 
Poetic and powerful
17 July 2008 | by (Vancouver) – See all my reviews

Disregard kobushi's review. His years of experience practicing karate have apparently clouded his judgment considerably. No one save perhaps himself and a handful of others cares a hoot about the true to life mechanics of real-world karate. Suffice to say his approach to the film is laughable in its narrow-mindedness.

The film presents a deceptively simple and elegantly told martial arts fable, set against a backdrop of an increasingly militarized japan. The fight scenes , tho admirably staged and completely credible (and shocking in their immediacy), are merely the seasoning on a powerful tale of good vs. evil. The stylistic flourishes and acrobatic excesses which plague most other martial arts movies are completely absent, and that is a welcome and long overdue development. The script seamlessly fuses the protagonists' journeys of self-discovery with the setting in which the story unfolds. The director's calm, measured approach is refreshing in its economy, a rare thing in a martial arts film. There is a charming honesty about the whole project that makes it difficult to resist..

As the two protagonists wrestle with their own diametrically opposed natures and strive to discover the secret of their training, the inevitable standoff between them is subdued but satisfying, like the film itself. The supporting characters (and I'm thinking mainly of the evil army general), though two-dimensional, are well-written and performed. The acting is uniformly excellent, a laudable accomplishment since apparently many of the martial artists are non-actors..

More than likely the film will be derided by the ADD generation, but i thought it was a welcome return to the style of old Japanese classic films (Reminiscent also of early Bruce Lee movies, in content as well as in spirit). It isn't pretentious or abstruse enough to be labelled an art film, and it shuns the spectacle of mainstream schlock. Kuro-Obi is a humble, poetic film both funny and moving.. and is adorned with a beautiful musical score.

a resounding 8/10


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