"Masterpiece" - Toronto After Dark Film Festival The year is 1614, Japan has been united under the Tokugawa Shoguns and the land is beginning to feel at peace. Two remote ninja clans, the Koga and the Igo, are ancient enem... more »ies but have long been bound by a peace agreement forbidding them to fight. The heirs to the leadership of both clans have fallen in love, but a tragic fate awaits them. A cruel plot is set by the Shogun to wipe these two clans from existence by breaking the peace agreement and forcing the two clans to battle. Five Ninjas of each the Koga and the Iga clans will battle eagainst each other to the death. As a great war begins, it brings the two young heirs together again. But this time as enemies. Bonus Disc includes: Shinobi Action - Sumpu Castle Fight Director Storyboard Collection Original TV Spots and Trailers Shinobi Art - Manjidani VFX Behind the Scenes Weapons Introduction "...Romeo and Juliet meets special effects, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon... soaring through the air.." "It's gorgeous, absolutely heart-breakingly beautiful." - Seattle International Film Festival« less
Very impressive,Japanese Romeo and Juliet with a ninja touch
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 10/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The dvd of SHINOBI HEART UNDER BLADE U.S. version is almost an exact duplicate of the Region-3 Thai version. I have both the 3-disc Japanese region-2 copy and the Hong Kong Region-3 DTS-ES dvd. The japanese and Hk releases have the best transfers. If you have multi-region capability, buy the Japanese or Hong Kong versions. But whatever you do, do not miss this film.
The following review applies to the Hong Kong Region-3 release:
I just finished watching my dvd copy of this film and felt that I have to review this marvelously tragic but hopeful film. Mind you, this SHINOBI film does not follow any of the video-game inspired Shinobi titles, rather it is based on the JAPANESE FEUDAL LEGEND from which both the video game and the anime series "Basilisk" were based on.
In order for you to love this film, you have to have an idea of Japanese customs and their unrelenting loyalty to their emperor/leader. For them, their Emperor is like a living God-man. That is why when a new Shogunate has united feudal Japan, he fears that the wrath of the SHINOBI may upset the balance of power. SHINOBI is the elite NINJA clan, who has been trained since birth in the art of combat and warfare.
Two Ninja clans has had a truce for years that the new Lord of the shogunate has lifted this truce and has misled them into believing that each clan will help decide who will ascend to the role of shogun(in the future) should they have 5 of their greatest and most skilled warriors to battle each other in a contest to the death. Gennusuke and Oboro are the lovers caught in the middle because each have ascended to the role of chieftain in their respective clans. In truth, the Shogunate rulers wish to destroy their clans because they fear their powers/skills and that one day rise up against the Supreme Shogunate of Japan. They believe since their goal is peace and prosperity, war mongers should be extinct because they believe that without war, they have no purpose. Some members of the clans also believe this.
Each clan warrior has character and depth, with variable skills and abilities. One warrior is like a chameleon, one has simian-like agility, one has NEAR-immortality, a woman has poison that goes around her skin/breath, one is a blind psychic among others.
The film itself is very tragic and when Oboro makes the supreme sacrifice to save the children/families of both clans, even the shogunate had to believe that the SHINOBI can have more than one purpose in life.
The set designs were awesome and the characters were well designed. The special effects weren't all hokey and fit the movie's pace. As in most samurai films, the battles were quick and exciting, although not overly bloody.
The film is one of the best ASIAN fantasy-epic films I've seen thus far. The dvd I have was mastered in High-def widescreen(EXTREMELY SHARP transfer) with 5.1 (DTS)digital audio(I didn't get mind in AMAZON). I highly recommend this film, now I have to cry for a PREQUEL about the warring clans before! 4.5 stars all the way!! Kagero ROCKS!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
ADDED: I managed to see the U.S. region-1 release by Funimation. It is less than 2 minutes shorter than the region-3 DTS-ES Hong Kong release. Nothing relevant was missing, except for an extended beginning and Oboro's encounter with one of the Kouga warriors. The video of the Asian release is a lot sharper/crisper than the Funimation transfer. As I thought, the Funimation transfer was derived from the Thai version."
Live action Anime that's not for geeks
P. Dagenais | Montreal | 03/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the same spirit of Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, Shinobi goes very deep into cultural roots with a heavy dose of "Animé" like action to create a compelling love story rich with visual fanfare.
Though the romantic plot is not as powerful as Crouching Tiger or House of Flying Daggers, it is still a compelling story for which you will want to know how it ends. But frankly, the real meat and potatoes of this movie is about the combat and the very Animé inspired characters. There are other live action animés out there, but this has quickly taken it's place to my number one favorite amongst them. Bonus points for making this accessible to the open non-initiated public. Naruto fans should find the same kind of interesting character concepts, save for the fact that everything is taken with a very mature tone (no teen aged ninjas here). Anyone who liked Warriors of Zu Mountain or Storm Riders will definitely want to pick this up."
Fun experience but missed opportunity in storytelling
A. Lung | 03/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since I am drawn to the subject of ninjas in general, I had to check out this film no matter what. While I do not regret purchasing this DVD, for it's certainly well-produced and visually pleasing. I can't help but think that this story would've been served best by using a mini-series format that could've fleshed out the characters more thoroughly and further develop the drama and details of this saga (as hinted by the characters' histories in the Official Movie website). It was certainly a pleasant experience albeit without any real plot twists or surprises."
Jason D. Lodge | New Orleans, USA | 05/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"IF you are a fan of ninja movies with heart and soul, then...look no further. This film carries some of the finest performances I have ever seen in a movie. I have become a fan of Japanese cinema for the heart, soul, and passion that goes into making these movies. Once again, Tak Sakaguchi steals the show, even in his limited screen appearances. Joe Odagiri is great as well. The plot moves at a decent pace while development of each character falls into place with each new scene. Action packed with a great music soundtrack and well placed cinematography that gives the viewer an oppurtunity to feel exactly what the characters are feeling. Watch this movie before yuou judge it...give it a chance to bring you intothat world, and understand it."
Bichonfrise74 | 09/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You cannot compare this with the western style of action... If you want a film which combines love and martial arts, then this film is for you. I've watched it twice and I'm still amazed by it."