6.6/10
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10 user 7 critic

Owls' Castle (1999)

Fukuro no shiro (original title)
As the great military commander Nobunaga Oda was consolidating his power across Japan, one of his actions was to wipe out a clan of assassins, killing every man, woman and child he found in... See full summary »

Director:

Masahiro Shinoda

Writers:

Katsuo Naruse, Ryôtarô Shiba (novel) | 1 more credit »
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3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kiichi Nakai ... Tsuzura Juzo
Mayu Tsuruta Mayu Tsuruta ... Kohagi
Riona Hazuki Riona Hazuki ... Kisaru
Takaya Kamikawa Takaya Kamikawa ... Kazama Gohei
Toshiya Nagasawa Toshiya Nagasawa ... Marishiten Dogen
Jinpachi Nezu ... Hattori Hanzo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kinnosuke Hannayagi Kinnosuke Hannayagi ... Ishida Mitsunari
Shôhei Hino Shôhei Hino ... Kuroami
Shima Iwashita ... Kita no Mandokoro
Toshio Kakei ... Kumohei
Hideyuki Kasahara Hideyuki Kasahara ... Iseya Employee
Haruko Mabuchi Haruko Mabuchi ... Old Woman Kusunoki
Mako ... Toyotomi Hideyoshi (as Mako Iwamatsu)
Kei Mizutani Kei Mizutani ... Bedhead Concubine
Atsuo Nakamura Atsuo Nakamura ... Tsuzura Tarobe / Narrator
Edit

Storyline

As the great military commander Nobunaga Oda was consolidating his power across Japan, one of his actions was to wipe out a clan of assassins, killing every man, woman and child he found in the village. Years later, one of the survivors has hired a young but skilled assassin to avenge the deaths of his friends and family. His mission: to sneak into the most heavily guarded castle in Japan, and kill the supreme ruler of the country. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jidai geki | based on novel | See All (2) »

Genres:

Action | Drama

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

30 October 1999 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Owls' Castle See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Wasted potential
27 June 2001 | by Noctem88See all my reviews

And it had so much potential. Fukuro no shiro aka Owl's Castle had the budget and story to be a Japanese epic that might have ranked with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. As it is, it fails to even match the Chinese masterpiece, The Emperor and the Assassin. The first thing that grabs you is the beautiful photography and splendid costumes. A very good looking film. But the potentially stirring tale of a Ninja who seeks revenge against a warlord who destroyed his clan is ruined by needless complications including tedious political subtexts, as well as a hair pulling pace. The hero named Juzo underplays his role with too much restraint, thus making it difficult to get emotionally involved with his character. Also frustrating was the underplayed concept of a female Ninja who ultimately becomes the hero's love interest.

But nothing was as frustrating as the restraint placed upon the action. Here we have a tale in medieval Japan with feuding warlords and Ninja's, so you would think we might see some serious mind blowing sword play ala Hong Kong -- but it's as if the action was treated as a secondary consideration. There is some sword play, but the camera doesn't follow the action, as if we were watching the events unfold on a stage. And the final battle, which could have made everything else forgivable, fails to deliver. In the end, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is perhaps the finest example of a film that balances a sweeping drama with jaw dropping action. Too bad the same thing cannot be said of the potential masterpiece that is Fukuro no shiro.


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