Top critical review
29 people found this helpful
on 26 October 2005
Where the heck is Ryuhei Kitamura? There is nothing in the universe he could be working on more important than this.
The first Azumi was a stunning, brilliant and beautiful film. After seeing this i am both disappointed and mortified. Director Shusuki Kaniko does not even compare. He lacks imagination, originality and seems to have no passion for this story. Ryuhei Kitamura used his skills and inventive ideas to bring forth jaw-dropping cinema. Watching the documentary on the first DVD shows us he was not happy with just average. He pushed everything to its limits, including the fight scenes, special effects and actors. He had huge passion for this story and it showed. So why did they settle for this other guy?
It seems that they had their budget halved since the last film, as the set pieces look like they were all shot in the same place. The whole story is in a forest. The first film had stunning villages, mountains, ships, castles and ghost-like towns. The cameras here are wobbly and look like their trying to mask something. There are no vertical rotating cameras or huge roars and explosions, just plain old slash ... slice ... slash... *yawn*
The cast is okay. The actors do nothing wrong, but most are actors who played roles in the first film playing different parts. It's like they didn't even audition them.
Let's compare the films. The great thing about Azumi was it had a great storyline and dialogue. Azumi 2 feels like it was quickly jotted down on a piece of toilet paper. Azumi had a great array of bad-guys, who we were able to both fear and hate...especially the brilliant Bijomaru. The enemies here are more like cartoon characters, and are not menacing at all. Azumi 1 boasted great fight scenes, especially the mind-blowing finale. The sequel has average fights, and the finale is a total yawn fest, very anti-climactic. You would hope they aimed to top the original film. I was looking for bigger expolsions, set pieces and more sword fodder. But it feels like the creators didn't even watch the first one. Another strength of the original is the storyline, dislogue and acting were both stunning, brutal and able to shock and startle you. By the end of the first film you feel quite emotional. In some parts I was very sad. The only emotion I felt after watching the sequel was anger.
Optimum have also done a poor job in releasing the DVD when it somes to extras. We get trailers. And a making of. "What's wrong?" i hear you say. Well. If you don't speak japanese, the making of is useless. They couldn't even be bothered to subtitle it.
If there is ever going to be an Azumi 3, i have only one request:
WHERE IS RYUHEI KITAMURA??? GET HIM NOW!!! GIVE HIM EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING HE WANTS, WHATEVER THE COST!!!
That will be a good film. He never lets an audience down.