Director Ryuhei Kitamura is making me believe that he is indeed a direct descendant of the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu. His movie Versus, pure genius. Azumi, a virtual live action Ninja Scroll. Godzilla Final Wars... Well, as of this writing is has yet to be released, but the trailer in which man-in-suit Godzilla delivers a glorious tail whipping to the American CGI knockoff Godzilla is very fulfilling. That alone gives me hope that Kitamura will continue to kick major celluloidal ass till he dies in a few years from now, horribly, at the hands of a deranged male fan who wants to have his baby.... Yes, that male fan will more than likely be me... But the dark side is clouding things a bit. Difficult to see, the future is.
So anyway, ninjas, ninjas, ninjas!!! Azumi is filled with uber ninjas, and they're all pretty cool. But beware, as the whole thing starts out relatively retarded though, as we are introduced to Azumi (Azumi being the main character and quite an uber ninja babe herself) and her ninja training camp. Not that Azumi is doing the training, just that she's being ninja trained herself along with a bunch of other ninja orphans who've never left the camp their entire ninja lives. Everything for the first 10 minutes is really kind of goofy and gay, and it came veeeeeery close to making the Wolfman and I leave the theater that was showing it. But my God am I glad we stayed! See, that goofy opening is very necessary to introduce us into the world of Azumi. Right after you begin to fear that the whole movie is going to be made solely for re-re's who need velcroed shoes and bike helmets, it gets a major boost of coolness. I won't reveal any ninja plot points here, but the turn of events that occur are some of the most shocking things I've seen in a long time. Well, since last Thursday at least, when Robot Pedro showed me that video tape that he made of him in that Guatemala whore house (it's not what you think, he was there with a machete and an uzi). The way that the director covers these turn of events is so fucking sweet. Once this change of feeling occurs, the movie takes off and never looks back or apologizes. Nice.
So, it turns out that the ninja master who was ninja training Azumi and her ninja brethren was training them for a reason. That reason was murder, of course, but he wanted them to assassinate disloyalists to the Tokugowa Shogunate. Some of the biggest wigs in the early days of the regime. So, sooner rather than later, Azumi and her ninja posse start on their mission and the ninja bad-assness starts like crazy. People are killed left and right, up and down, inside and outside, and left and... wait... in every ninja way imaginable. Slicing, ninja-starring, stabbing, beheading and utterly blown away deaths happen, then happen again, and probably two or three more times. Ninja-riffic! But soon, one of the anti-shogunate factions gets smart and starts fighting Azumi and crew back. They call in some heavy hitters in the form of a bunch of psycho, burly brothers who like to mutilate themselves and rape circus performers for shits and giggles. Not very nice ninja people to say the least. Oh, and there's also that one transvestite freaky, yet powerful, ninja who "looks like Brendan Fraser in Japanese drag" (as the Wolfman so eloquently stated). Kind of like the Asian Orando Broom in The Returner... But I digress. That movie didn't have any ninjas in it.
So, Azumi and her ninja brothers are then forced to fight for their lives against Japanese Brendan Fraser and his army of delinquent bandits in their bandit city in the bandit outlands... And bad things happen. Bad things to both sides to be sure, but bad things nonetheless. The finale in the bandit city is some of the coolest collective ninja-bang fighting I've ever seen! The ferocity of it all, the blood and guts, the jumping and swinging, the stabbing and slaying, and the exploding of shit!..... Wowwie wow wow wow! And oh man, did I mention the monkeyman ninja? Holy fuck, this thing even has a goddamn monkeyman ninja in it! And he's a bad ass too! He even makes dog-whimpering noises when he's hurt.... Which may sound gay, but it's actually cool to see/hear when it happens. And the ending... Awesome. I'm not giving too much away when I say that once Azumi gets a non-ninja taste of the outside world she begins to wonder if she could ever live a life devoid of slaughtering ninja after ninja after ninja. She eventually has to come to a decision regarding which path in the fork in the road to take. Well, she chooses, and her choice is very fulfilling.
By the end of the movie I was all hyped up. Nothing lets you down. There's just the right amount of action without it becoming overkill (punny), the human drama is ninja-engaging, and the camera work sometimes has you go "how in the ninja-fuck did they do that?!" There is a shot in this movie that outdoes bullet-time in the original Matrix. I can't figure out how Director Kitamura pulled it off. Maybe he really did use ninjas... Awesome.
Hey. This Azumi ninja movie was pretty cool. Lots of death, destruction and dismay. Ummm, other than that there was that Brendan Fraser in a wig. He/she/it was kind of creepy. Kind of like Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror... Except not as unrelentingly gay. Just slightly gay. Ninja Brendan Fraser was cool though in that he killed a lot of people. He didn't just get all "mad scientist gay" on them... Not that there's anything wrong with that, just... Aw fuck it.
If you like to watch things die, this is the movie for you.
Well, ummm, I didn't really see Azuki, but from what the Wolfman and the Rossman tell me it was pretty cool. You know, sometimes that's all you need to know. So, I'll still rate it.
Though hearing about all the ninja shit that was going on in that movie got me to remembering that one time I was assaulted by something like five fucking ninjas at once, right outside the Sea Wench Pub. They were all coming at me, so I went all like "HiiiiiiiiiiYAAAH!" and started breaking bottles and shit in their faces and then stabbing them with all the broken glass with my own drunken boxing mad skills and stuff. Man, blood and skin and guts stuff was everywhere when my Chi-Chi rage finally quelled, and boy did I sleep well that night. To show you just how tricky ninja can be though, a report came out the next day about their deaths, but all the news said was "One homeless person, two dogs and two lovers caught in the middle of coitus were cut down in the prime of their lives early this morning in a back alley by several broken beer and liquor bottles still wedged in their skulls." Fuck the lying liberal media! They needed to dive deeper into the story! Goddamn ninjas... Trickier when their fucking dead.