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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 1 February 2004
first, this is a typical story about revenge(therefore 4 star not 5 star for me), so prepare yourself for blood, samurai sword action and a lot more blood.
second, Quentin Tarentino is a fan of this movie, you can spot some camera techniques used in this movie were used in Kill Bill 1.(so i guessed he is a big fan?!)
third, so if you like QT and his Kill Bill, you will pretty much like this one too!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 August 2004
Don't get me wrong, this really is an outstanding film. Hardly surprising, since it was written by Kazuo Koike, who did the screenplays for the Babycart/Lone Wolf & Cub films, as well as writing the original Lone Wolf Manga series. But quite frankly, this particular edition - like most of Artsmagic's output - is appalling. If I hadn't bought it from such a respected retailer, I'd have assumed it was a bootleg copy.
Not only is the picture quality nowhere near as good as you would generally expect from a DVD but the menu graphics look awful & are unclear & the features are very poor. The chapters often start/finish in the completely illogical places eg halfway through a scene. I noticed one starts about 2 minutes before the end of an importan scene - why not start it after the scene, then? Worse still, there isn't even a clock, so most DVD players can't tell you how long it's been on for & how long is left - even my video can do that.
But if you can get past that, it's still a good film which is well worth seeing. I personally wouldn't call it a classic as it's a bit too generic for that, but it's still a very good film that I would highly recommend to fans of the Samurai/Revenge genres.
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on 7 May 2004
pauls capsule review: while watching kill bill (vol 1) in the cinema i found myself thinking many a time "this is an awful lot like lady snowblood", and i'm not far wrong. lady snowblood is by far the greatest single influence on the first kill bill film (not that this is a bad thing!!). Similar plot: a womans revenge, lots of blood, similar shots, even the lady snow blood theme appears in kill bill! Lovers of old 60's/70's zatoichi and lone wolf and cub films will love this. Good stuff.
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A revenge film which was rife in the 1970's, just google Michael Winner. He built a whole franchise on the genre.

The difference with this film is the concentration upon gender; female violence. The film follows the format of Fistful of Dollars, in terms of someone undergoing a ritual to become hardened to violence, prior to the grand explosion. The historical narrative was interesting, the desire to militarize and how the peasants responded. This is the background to the film as the Japanese feeling inferior to the West following the Meiji restoration, embarked upon a will to power. Assimilating all things from the West to master the new world, they brutalised their people.

It contains oodles of choppings and red spurts of blood as the heroine embarks upon her quest. The problem however is the story has been well worn. One twist is the impact of the violence upon others and how it creates the desire for revenge amongst the children of those who have been revenged. In that case the ripples spread beyond the original action, however justifiable and highlights the greater emotional literacy amongst the Japanese as opposed to the West.

The background music shifted from surreal abstract Japanese sounds to jazz funk and the use of the latter lent a type of modernity that jarred with the historical narrative.

As a film from this era, the Female Yakuza and others are more "out there." This is much more "straight" forward. It is a good film rather than a great one.
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on 11 June 2006
It is the late 1800s; the scene is set for a tragedy of staggering proportions when a child is conceived in a brutal Japanese jail for one purpose and one purpose alone. This child is born to the Lady Sayo; a woman held in prison for murder, her daughter's name will be Yuki, or Lady Snowblood, bringer of vengeance.

Sayo dies during childbirth but she leaves precise instructions on how Yuki is to be raised, and many years later a beautiful young woman sets out to complete what her mother failed to do, wipe out the people that slaughtered her family, and do it in such a way that no one will ever forget the name of Lady Snowblood.

Get ready for a roller coaster ride of extreme sword play, brutality and carnage that will make your head spin and your eyes come out on stalks.

This film should be dated by now, after all it was made in the early 1970s but there is something timeless about it, and we all know it was used as a template for the highly successful trilogy of Kill Bill.

Stomach churning in parts, you will be glued to your seat when you watch this movie, not for the faint hearted but well worth watching even though it is over 30 years old.
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on 11 June 2006
Set in Meji-era Japan, a lot of time and effort has been put into recreating a period set. Kaji Meiko gives an excellent performance as the assassin without pity or remorse for her victims, seeking the four people who killed her father and brother. Her mother is imprisoned after killing one of the villains. Yuki (Meiko's character) is born in prison and her life is centred around violence and suffering.

Women don't normally star in samurai movies. Though this isn't strictly a samurai movie, it features all of the staple elements - fast moving action and a plot full of blood-boiling vengeance. Kaji Meiko shows that this genre need not be male dominated, or that women should only use poison or stab people in the back. She attacks head-on, dispatching her enemies with controlled strokes of her blade.

The only regret I had about this film was that there could have been a few more fight scenes and that Kaji Meiko could have had an opponent worthy of her character's skills. However the time spent on each fight scene is well spent. This is not the kind of film that relies on a blizzard of action or special effects. It is almost sure to please fans of Japanese film.

On a side-note, I'm not sure what the critics of the film have against the DVD. It looks fine to me - perhaps they haven't noticed it was shot in 1973.
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VINE VOICEon 31 August 2004
With KIll Bill, the Lady Snowblood joined a number of films like A Better Tomorrow that had been looted of their ideas by Tarantino. The film is a classic tale of retribution and revenge that permeates similar works like the Lone Wolf & Cub / Babycart series. The action and period setting is first rate and the female lead would put Michelle Pfeiffer to shame.
Watch it, in common with many Japanese film DVDs the film shines through inspite of the DVD rather than because of it. Expect poor sound and visual quality.
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on 20 July 2010
I watched this after hearing about it's influence on Tarantino and thought that it was brilliant. The techniques in the film are way ahead of it's time, giving it style in abundance. You can really see the influence on Kill Bill and if you loved the style of that movie then watch this to see where he lifted his ideas from.
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on 1 July 2007
It's a shame that the transfer of this film to PAL DVD format is so bad, because the film is really very good. I've not seen the Region 1 version, but I suspect that'll be better, given the US' love of remastering.

It may be worth venturing over to .com for this one if you have a multi region player.
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on 7 December 2011
Don't really know how to rate this one. Whilst I can respect all the great things about this movie, one can't just deny the faults that are littered in mostly every scene. This is of course due to the age and era the film was made, but that doesn't excuse the flaws, not for me anyway. I hate to compare the two, but watching Lady Snowblood was a similar experience for me as watching Argento's Susperia, although Lady Snowblood is far superior.

The cinematography in the film hasn't aged well, but the direction still stands up as eye-catching. There are quite a few memorable scenes in the film, and its easy to see why Tarantino was so inspired by the movie. Even the dialogue has such a powerfully emotive tone to it.

The acting was all too over the top for my liking, except Meiko Kaji's whose felt lifeless rather than aloof or cold to me. I did like the extremely dramatic, way OTT death scenes though, punctuated with healthy doses of neon red blood- always a winner.

The soundtrack is really nice in the film, very subtle. The settings were pretty nice as well, although I didn't find them too distinctive. For some reason, the composition of the movie, from the actors all the way through to the costumes, never really made me feel like I was in 19th century Japan. That was a bit of a problem for me.

One thing I did like about the movie though is the political undertones though, it felt like I was learning a little bit about the state of Japan at that time. I also liked the obvious but still fun twist at the end, that reignited my slightly waning interest. I also like that the movie's moral is clear: any gratification gained from revenge comes at a heady and costly price. Since I really appreciated some aspects of the film, but can't ignore the faults, I'm just going to rate it two and half stars.
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