The story of Azumi is adapted from a manga title of the same name by Yu Koyama. Its a little hard to swallow, but through the course of the film the diminutive title character as played by pop starlet Aya Ueto will cut her way through no less than 200 warriors made up of samurai, ninja, deranged mercenaries, and mobs of Road Warrior-inspired cutthroats. She reaches a gruesome climax with one of most memorable beheadings seen in film.
Azumi is pure, popcorn entertainment with no real depth, but with non-stop eye candy, gratuitous violence, and a wry sense of humor. That's what Kitamura is striving for in his self-professed desire to bring back the cult chambara film and that is what he succeeds in doing perfectly. I do wish the soundtrack, with its generic rock guitar riffs and stale orchestrations could match Kitamura's energetic and quirky filmmaking style. But as a Japanese swordplay film, this has all the guts and glitter that is lacking in present Hong Kong action films. As one of the best action-heavy chambara films released in years, Azumi is highly recommended.
Cast: Aya Ueto, Shun Oguri, Hiroki Narimiya, Kenji Kohashi, Takatoshi Kaneko
Directed: Ryuhei Kitamura
Genre: Action /Adventure / Drama / Fantasy
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