Azumi | Teen Ink


March 14, 2008
By Anonymous

History and action movies have something in common. They both draw large crowds. However, you can’t help but wonder if either have a plot. You leave the theater, wishing for more. Well, Azumi, the manga based movie (which is an action and history flick), is definitely not one of them.

Usually you have to get into a movie gradually, but with Azumi that is not the case; it pulls you in at the start: A lone girl, crying over a dead woman. Her mother possibly? A passing stranger stops, and, in a moment of kindness, changes a life.

That stranger turns out to by a mercenary, who ends up training Azumi (Aya Ueto), and a group of boys to be assassins, preparing them for a mysterious mission. After a heart-stopping duel between this childhood friends, that ‘mission’ becomes clear. What also becomes apparent is that this movie is definitely worth watching.

For one, this movie is loaded with very memorable characters. One of the targets, the warlord Asano Nagamasa, leaves a lasting foreshadowing of the fate of our dear Azumi. Appearing later, a crazed villain with a sword, in almost sadistic glee, kills Nachi (Shun Ogari) in front of his one time love. How dramatic.

Seasoned action viewers will not disappointed. The movie is packed with spectacular action, plus a gut-wrenching death or two. They might also be happy to know that the fighting isn’t senseless. No trigger happy cowboys here. Compared to other action movies, this one definitely will stand out as exciting and believable. Unlike Shoot ‘Em Up, you won’t find anyone running into a room without a gun, bullets flying everywhere, and then remaining unscathed.

History buffs will also be pleased to know the dignity of the Warring States remains intact. There are plenty of villages, kimonos, and bandits .The only thing that unraveled would be the much used honorifics that were lost in the dubbing for the DVD. (Hint-watch in Japanese with subs)
Azumi stands its ground strong if just placed in the history genre. Movies of this kind are usually all blood and guts, like the 300, or a senseless romance. Not to down the genre, for there are some good historic-movies out there. (Black Dahlia and The Zodiac to name a few)To people sick of all of that however, this flick will be like a fresh breath of air.

Personally I enjoyed the catalytic drama. Even from the start, you could see that Azumi was struggling in a battle between her conscience and her duty. Amagi’s (Takatoshi Kaneko) rather tragic death helped her make that decision. Just as soon as you think she’s laid down her sword for good, life gets in the way. Though this time, when Azumi picks up her sword, it’s for a mission all her own.

The director, Ryuhei Kitamora, obviously knew what he was doing. Fast paneled scenes are great, following smoothly with in your face katana action. All in all, Azumi is worthy of watchers from any preferred genre, for I guarantee it’s just that good.

So well done in fact, that it’s be worth it to watch this, and it’s newly released sequel.

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