Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ashura-jo no Hitomi (2005)

Somegoro Ichikawa - Izumo Wakuraba
Rie Miyazawa - Tsubaki
Kanako Higuchi - Bizan
Atsuro Watabe - Jaku Abe
Fumiyo Kohinata - Nanboku Tsuruya IV
Takashi Naitô - Nobuyuki Kuninari
Yukijiro Hotaru - Magotaro
Hanae Kan - Emishi
Kazuo Kuwabara
Sarutoki Minagawa - Takiji
Koji Ookura - Hyozo
Erika Sawajiri - Yachi
Kumiko Tsuchiya - Oiran

"Prepare to gaze into Hell."

Set in 19th Century Edo, the story begins with demons, led by the beautiful and nefarious Bizan, plotting to wreck havoc in old Edo with the ultimate aim of bringing their queen, Ashura, back to life and taking over the world. Who can stop them?

The government forms the Oni Mikado, an elite government force dedicated to defending the capital from demons.

An original - and most talented - member of the elite, Izumo "Demon Slayer" Wakuraba, has since resigned and become a kabuki actor with a travelling troupe. Meanwhile the Oni Mikado leader, Nobuyuki Kuninari, and his fierce, canny lieutenant Jaku Abe carry on, slaying demons along their way.

However, a troupe of female acrobats is wreaking havoc of another kind by turning thief at night and fighting running battles with the authorities.

One of their number, Tsubaki, stays free with Izumo's help, but as their acquaintance blossoms into love, a painful red scar appears on her shoulder: the mark of Ashura.

She struggles to remember an incident five years earlier that holds the key to her current dilemma and eventual fate.

Then Jaku falls under Bizan's erotic spell and goes over to the dark side. She sends him after Tsubaki to bring about the horrific transformation of Tsubaki.

Based on Kazuki Nakashima's famous kabuki play.

This was a fascinating movie. From the get go, excitement. Totally entertaining.

Izumo's jokes and sword play kept me invigorated. I couldn't turn my eyes away. He wasn't the prettiest of men but his presence and charisma made him handsome...extremely.

I can't explain the movie. It wasn't high tech. It didn't have "A" class actors but yet this could be one of my favorite movies. I can't understand it myself.

The story was reminiscent of an old American 80's flick. It kind of reminded me of the movie Legend (the Tom Cruise movie). The story is not even close but yet the effects and acting were about the same.

This movie has gotten a bazillion mixed reviews...some can't stand it. Where as, I totally thought this movie rocked my socks off. So I guess this movie would be for discriminating tastes. You either love it or hate it.

If I were to ever find this movie at the store, I would definitely pick this up and buy it.

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