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Azumi 2
Azumi 2
Actors: Aya Ueto, Yma Ishigaki, Chiaki Kuriyama, Shun Oguri, Ken'ichi End
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Genres: Indie & Art House
UR     2008     1hr 48min

Studio: Urban Vision Release Date: 05/06/2008 Run time: 112 minutes Rating: Nr


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Movie Details

Actors: Aya Ueto, Yma Ishigaki, Chiaki Kuriyama, Shun Oguri, Ken'ichi End
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Creators: Mataichir Yamamoto, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Yu Koyama
Genres: Indie & Art House
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House
Studio: Urban Vision
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/06/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

3 - Stars: This Sequel could have Been so Much Better...La
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 04/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Two years after the success of the Japanese Jidai Geki swordplay action film; "AZUMI" (2003), comes its sequel, Azumi 2: Death or Love. The sequel once again features the beautiful Aya Ueto as the young female assassin, but how does this sequel fare without Ryuhei Kitamura at the helm as director? One thing that Azumi had proved about Kitamura, the man can handle a samurai film; the director can indeed make his actors look fantastic, he can frame shots that most directors can only dream of or aspire to, and he knew when to cut the unnecessary scenes in the editing room. Azumi 2 (2005) features Kaneko Shusuke as the director and Mataichi Yamamoto as the storyteller. Yamamoto is also the screenwriter of the anime classic "Ninja Scroll". Were they able to fill Ryuhei Kitamura's shoes? I loved the original "Azumi" as you can judge with my review of it.

The film takes place sometime after the original film with Azumi (Aya Ueto) and Nagara (Kazuki Ishigaki) being pursued by the ninjas of Kanbei (Kazuki Kitamura), who was shamed by the beautiful assassin in the first film. Joined by a beautiful female ninja (Chiaki Kuriyama, Kill Bill), the duo is adamant in completing their mission in pursuing Masayuki Sanada (Mikijiro Hira); the last remaining lord of the Toyotomi bent on rebelling against the Tokugawa. The remaining lord is protected by elite killers that they have to cut through to finish their mission. Along the way, they cross paths with a small band of bandits with Ginkaku (Shun Oguri) as its leader. Ginkaku resembles Azumi's childhood friend; Nachi, who she killed as her "rite of passage" (in the first film). Just who is Ginkaku, and what is his relationship with the late lamented Nachi?

Azumi is based on the manga of the same name. While the original director's cut clocked in at 143 minutes, this sequel is significantly shorter; since it does have so little to work with in terms of plot. There is a lot of action and swordplay in this sequel, and although they are decent in their own right; the swordfights just cannot match the quality of the action, the style and the "wallop" of Kitamura's awesome action sequences. The swordfights are bloody and slashing but without Kitamura's excellence in filming these sequences, the action sequences are missing something. It didn't have the "WOW" factor omnipresent in the original that the sequences lacked credibility. Aya Ueto looked a bit awkward in some of the scenes, proof that without Kitamura's editing and quick cuts, the actress is missing a lot of the "punch" she exhibited in the original film.

The villains in this installment seem to carry more of the anime influence than the previous film. Specifically, the ninja who engages Azumi in combat and the big guy who throws the huge spear around, they do look heavily inspired by "Ninja Scroll". Director Shusuke Kaneko is known for directing "Godzilla" films so expect his style to be very different from Kitamura's style. (It is very ironic that Kitamura wasn't available to shoot this sequel because he was directing "Godzilla final wars"). The villains in Azumi 2 have a some manner of mystical powers, but unfortunately, they are more for show than actually giving our heroine that much trouble. Aside from random action sequences, screenwriter Yamamoto attempts to hide the limited premise in adding his variation of a budding teen romance; of course it is no surprise that Ginkaku finds Azumi very attractive, that he makes it his goal to show her the error of her killing ways.

Director Shusuke redeems himself by once again pitting Azumi against an army as in the original film. Azumi slices and dices her way through a gauntlet of Kanbei's foot soldiers near the climax. He even attempts to do something different in regards to camera work by placing a camera behind Ueto's shoulders while she cuts down foot soldiers. Thank goodness he abandoned the idea after a few seconds. I suppose Shusuke intended to rival Kitamura's terrific 360 degree camera work that was done in the duel between Bijomaru and Azumi is the original film. Shusuke tried but he just couldn't attain the original`s visual impact.

Ultimately, this sequel isn't a lost cause. There is an effective twist near the climax and it does close the story of Azumi. People who are hyped up for this sequel and expecting the same quality of action and story in the original "Azumi" will be disappointed. Despite its faults, the film does present a moral commentary as to how people can make hard choices and why there must be people like our beautiful heroine. It also questions as to how people like Priest Tenkai can name who lives and who dies.

The film ponders the moral question: When all a person had ever lived for is one mission, after all is said and done, where does she go next? Who is assassin or a savior?

Recommended timidly, rent it first. [3 ½ - Stars]

Note: I gave the original "Azumi" 4 ½ + Stars.
Azumi Uncut 2 Disc Limited Edition
This was good, The FIRST was BETTER
Justice For Humanity | 12/12/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Let's put it this way, when I watched the first AZUMI, I fell in love with it and watched it again a few days later. Then watched it a 3rd time in another few days.

I love Aya Ueto, the lead actress playing Azumi. I love all the other actors/actresses as well. (Even my home girl, veteran actress Reiko Takashima) but AZUMI 2 was a little bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, it is in fact an entertaining movie. But it lost the "spark" of the first film. I recommend AZUMI 2 to fans of Asian cinema, Action films and Movie Buffs.
Can you live with out seeing Azumi 2? Yes, you can. But if you like the actors and actresses, and these types of films then it is at least worth checking out."
More of the same
David Skipper | Memphis TN | 07/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"First off, let me state that unlike the other reviewers, I didn't really see a difference in the budget {quality} of the film. To be honest, I feel it retains everything that made the original great. However thats part of the problem. I love Asian fiction. From movies to anime. But one thing they tend to do that urks me {in movies more-so than anime} They don't give the hero any worthy foes. Sure the enemies are cool, with special skills and what-not. But its lackluster when the hero {heroine in this case} doesn't so much as break a sweat to dispose of them. Its very easily seen in Azumi{both of them} Instead of killing you in 2 seconds with one swing. It might take her 10 seconds and 3 swings.

But those are minor cons to be honest. The film is still very good. Not really better, but no worse than the first IMO."
Azumi Fan
LunarMan | 10/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Must see if you have watched Azumi, the first part of the story. This is the conclusion of the story. I like the first movie better. The first one has more action and a more interesting plot. This second movie concentrates more on the emotions and love life of Azumi. However, if you have seen the first one, the second one is a must see so that the story will be complete. Azumi is as beautiful and graceful as she is in the first movie."