Review: Azumi (2003)

Did someone bring their DV camera to the cosplay convention?  That’s the impression left by Azumi, the shot on video adaptation of the manga by Yu Koyama.  All the usual suspects are here – brightly colored (and very clean) costumes, lots of wire work, lots of green screen, garish shot selection, and a poor transfer to boot.  The result is hardly worth anyone’s time.

The story starts out interestingly enough.  As a little girl, Azumi is “rescued” by a man when her mother is killed.  He appears to be a ronin and has several other children in tow.  Flash forward to the end of the warring states period and we learn that the orphans were all raised by this weirdo to be assassins.  His mission in life is to assassinate all the leaders who would contribute to the continuation of war in feudal Japan, and he plans on using his young trainees to get the job done.  Unfortunately, that’s just about all the story there is.  From that point forward the characters are thrust into increasingly unbelievable situations so that they may fight and fight and fight, and poorly at that.  This movie has more in common with trashy fare like Onechanbara but without the bikini.  There is an interesting subplot about Azumi’s lack of female role models, but it’s little more than an aside in this generic chop-fest.

For some reason the IMDB entry for this movie states that Azumi is a teenage ninja girl.  For the record, she isn’t.  There are a few ninja characters in the movie but the main characters are assassins trained from childhood by an asshole with his own agenda.  While ninja were sometimes hired to assassinate someone, they were really just struggling to save their homes and families the only way they knew how.  Their goal was survival most of the time.

Look, I’m going to cut this one short because I already sat through over two hours of this garbage and that’s pretty much all there is to say.  If you like this sort of low budget affair, I’ve got nothing against you.  You’ll probably enjoy this as much as Alien Vs. Ninja.  I wish you well.  But if you like movies that aim just a tiny bit higher, I’d say skip this mess.  Not recommended.

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