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In war-torn Japan, the Tokugawa Shogun, desperate to restore peace to his people, orders the assassination of the hostile warlords. A beautiful young woman is raised from birth with nine other orphans, to become an assassin. Her name is AZUMI, the ultimate assassin.Written by
All of Azumi's dialog is written in masculine speech, that is, speech forms that normally would not be spoken by women. This reflects the fact that she was brought up with no other women around her. Yae's remark "Girls don't speak like that!" is in response to Azumi's speech pattern. "Girls don't speak like that!" refers to Azumi saying 'Bokuwa' (the predominantly male word for referring to yourself) instead of 'Watashiwa' (the female or unisex form) when pointing out that she could hide her swords in her cloak. See more »
In the fight between Azumí and Mogamí Bijomarú, when Azumí runs, jumps and strikes Bijomarú with his sword, the movement of the Azumi'sword is corrected at the last second, before cutting the hand of Bijomarú and moves up to strike the middle of the sword of Bijomarú. See more »
Ryuhei Kitamura has developed quite a large cult following due to his massively entertaining genre-busting zombie/yakuza/martial arts hybrid film "Versus". Now he has given us "Azumi", a samurai film with a rock music soundtrack and young, attractive leads.
The film follows a clan of ten young assassins trained since childhood to carry out a special mission. Azumi, the lone female in the group is considered the most skilled of them all. Their master is an ex-samurai warrior who acts as a father figure to the teens. The assassins await the day of their mission with growing anticipation, until the day it finally presents itself. Their mission is to kill a shogun who is threatening to overthrow the ruling class of Japan. Quick to overestimate their own abilities, the assassins find their numbers dwindling as they battle the shogun's warriors including the sometimes-honorable, sometimes-manic ninja Saru and a mysterious feminine Samurai clad in white who's so good he has "never had to defend an attack". As things start going downhill for the assassins, Azumi begins to doubt herself and begins to long for the life of a normal Japanese woman.
This film is all about sword-fights and Kitamura delivers more than he probably should. People take on hundreds of swordsmen single-handedly and buckets of bright red gore are splashed about with every sword slash. While these fights are entertaining at first, they grow tedious as the hundredth person is killed. Not only that, but our heroes do not show any sort of skill that gives us reason to believe that they are capable of killing dozens of men effortlessly. Also, Kitamura has trouble finding the right lengths for his films. "Versus", "Alive" and "Azumi" are too long, while "Heat After Dark" is much too short. I really think if 10 minutes of slow-motion sword fights were cut this movie would flow much better.
Now, "Azumi" is not a bad movie, by any means. It's very entertaining, just a tad tedious. The characters are very unique and developed quite nicely, and Kitamura has a knack for giving us exciting camera angles. Although it does not live up to "Versus" (I didn't expect it to, and never compared the two until now) "Azumi" is still an entertaining film, and any fans of "Versus" should find "Azumi" a very good time. 7/10
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