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

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,068 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

 
The tagline "Real Fight, Real Karate, Real Japan" just says it all
27 May 2008 | by (Zürich) – See all my reviews

The movie tagline: "Real Fight, Real Karate, Real Japan" just says it all. I waited much to see this on DVD.. The movie lived up to my expectations, which were based on the trailer and the fact that the main "actors" are real karate masters of 1st, 5th and 6th dan.

The story takes place in the 30's, the country is about to go to war. A military troop arrives at a dojo where 3 guys practice karate with an old master and they soon engage in a fight. The soldiers want to take the building but finally they take the karate pupils, after they demonstrated their strength. The old master soon dies and leaves the black belt - representing their dojo - behind so that the most worthy of them can get it. But they have a lot to learn before.. Giryu (Akihito Yagi) is very naive, while Taikan (Tatsuya Naka) is the opposite of him, so they take different routes. The story, the acting, the movie itself could stand on it's own without any fights. The scenery is nice, the drama, the characters are well built, the directing is very simple, yet powerful, honest. The music is also worth mentioning, it was composed by Naoki Sato.

So, what's so special about this movie? That it's real, and it has it all. Great fighters and actors, a meaningful story, a nice movie with a respectful message and representation of karate. The style which - compared to hundreds of movies about flying swordsmen or vengeful kung fu masters - is just not so popular on screen. Maybe that's because it's not about showing off, so it doesn't look that cool at first. Don't expect any wire-work, stuntmen falling ten meters or special effects to exaggerate anything. There is nothing to exaggerate here, because even the simplest, shortest moves look so perfect and powerful that it needs no explanation. This movie makes a lot of things more clear about karate, and gives meaning to it. Reading about the movie on the net I found several karate forums where people praised the actors for being great masters and also nice, humble persons after knowing them. The fact that the movie was also advertised in these circles made it clear that it's not an average action flick. Naka Sensei, who plays Taikan in the movie is an instructor (ranked 6th dan) of the Japan Karate Association and Akihito Yagi (5th dan) is also an instructor and the president of IMGKA (International Meibukan Gojyu-Ryu Karate Association). I hope it wasn't the last movie they appeared in, their charm and talent would be a great addition to Japanese cinema and could further exhibit the true power and meaning of karate traditions.


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