Thursday, October 02, 2008

Azumi (repost)

Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, of Versus infamy, Azumi is a period piece following the adventures of a young orphan girl turned assassin as she and her nine male companions grow up and train together, preparing for the "final assignment".

Based on a manga by Yu Koyama, the film stars Aya Ueto as the title character, a role she pulls off very well. For those who know Kitamura only from his tongue-in-cheek, ultra gory "Versus", this movie is going to come as a bit of a shock. Although there is a lot of action, and Kitamura never flinches from showing just how messy sword fighting can be, there is more to this movie than sheer visceral overkill. In fact the gore that appears is seamlessly and (almost) tastefully integrated into the story. Seldom is it gratuitous.

This move just looks damn good! The costumes, sets and overall cinematography give Azumi a lush, epic feel that belies a comparatively modest budget (compared to say Hero or House of Flying Daggers). The acting is competent and fits in well with the story, and the script moves along at a brisk pace without feeling rushed.

I would heartily recommend Azumi for a an interesting night’s viewing-and if you are up for a double feature thrown on Jet Li’s "Hero". The movies dovetail perfectly, each showing a similar story in a completely different yet equally satisfying way.

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