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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Live in Shadow. Die In Shadow., 19 May 2007

Chances are, if you even are perusing this, you have either (A) seen the show at a Japanese station in your area or (B)have heard Quentin Tarantino's references to Kage No Gundan in regards to Sonny Chiba. I'm more of (A) but never got a chance to see all of it (they kept changing the times it would air!!!). All I can say about this series is that it is the perfect bland of drama, martial arts, and cheese that the ninja craze back in the eighties had to offer. BUT don't let that last comment fool you. This isn't some American production exploiting the ninja fad (such as Cannon Films and their poster boy, Sho Kosugi). No, this is straight out of Japan with as much authenticity as Sonny Chiba and his Japan Action Team can provide. "Kage..." provides a wonderful cast of characters led by Chiba's Hattori Hanzo amidst a genuine historical backdrop and engaging stories with enough political intrigue to entertain and educate (!) the viewer on the basics of Japanese history and (a cartooned version)politics. This series also gives a glimpse into the real historical context of what the ninja were (though not as heavy-handed as "Shinobi No Mono" another MUST SEE movie of what the real historical ninjas were like). The ninja were necessary evils of the Samurai elite, and were treated as such. Add to the fact that our heroes belong to a disbanded ninja group whose master was framed for treason, just adds more texture to the mix. In conclusion, just watch and enjoy "Kage No Gundan". There is just too much good stuff to mention without spoiling it for the uninitiated. It's just good fun and a production value akin to any good samurai epic (also watch for cameos from other great Japanese actors of the day). Abayo!

Damned Be The Viewer..., 26 February 2002

I went to see `Queen of the Damned' on its opening night with a simple expectation: to be entertained. Yes, I have read the books (all the way up to `Memnoch the Devil'), but I was fully aware that, unlike the film version of `Interview With A Vampire', `Queen's screenplay was not written by Anne Rice nor did any of the stars from that project appeared in this cinematic installment. But I am not going to get into how much the film diverted from the book (which is expected with adapting one format to the other) but on the film alone. Rest assured, other Anne Rice fans have already nit-picked by now, already. ;)

First off, the acting was not bad. Aalyah was the PERFECT Akasha and deserves any awards she is nominated for this role, her last performance.

Stewart Townsend was, visually, a superb Lestat, however, his excessive posing and blank `Bono-like' stares were just a little annoying and got in the way of his performance in some scenes. The rest of the cast did workmen-like performances.

However, I fault mostly the script, which was, in of itself, hard to follow. For a movie titled `Queen of the Damned' we know far more about Lestat than we do Akasha. So much is left out that even HOW she became a vampire (the Mother of ALL Vampires, at that) is missing! Plus, there's the attempted forced love interest between Lestat and the mortal Talamascan Jesse, the rather rushed flash-backs of Lestat's past, and other undeveloped characters (did anyone even KNOW that the other three vampires were Pandora, Armand, and Mael?). Add to the confusing focus of the direction of the film (is this a Vampire flick, a Alternative/Goth Video, or a kung-fu/Buffy the Vampire flick?) with its nausiating, overused crane and helicopter shots for most of the scene changes, you have a patch-worked film that just feels as though it was rushed to be released and tried to compensate (and failed, CGI and all) substance with style.