1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (92 votes, average: 4.13 out of 5)
Posted On: October 8, 2009
Posted In: Action Movies, Aikido, All Movies, Bushido, Kung Fu Fighting, Kung Fu Movie Reviews, Kung Fu Movies, Martial Arts Movies
Comments: One Response

Japan is in serious turmoil: Demons have infested Edo, taking possession of earthly forms and bending them to their unholy will. On top of that, the rebirth of Ashura, Queen of the demons, is nigh. The only thing that stands against this grave threat are the Demon Wardens, a fearsome group of warriors, who might just be as bad and as malodorous as the demons themselves.

Izumo is a retired Demon Warden, who five years ago, took up theater instead of Demon Slaying after accidentally killing a innocent child (In a battle that’s strangely reminiscent of the bar scene from Dusk till Dawn). One night by a chance encounter he meets a beautiful and mysterious young woman named Tsubaki. Their fortunes intertwine (literally) and they are bound by fate to be lovers and enemies.

If you think this sounds like your typical Japanese Fantasy/Swordplay epic, you’d be wrong. In fact, there’s nothing typical about Ashura. It is a hodge-podge of many different genre’s of film. Those just mentioned, as well as a comedy, drama, and romance. Director Yojiro Takita juggles the genre’s with a fair amount of respect (although, the comedy seems forced in some scenes) and the end result is a ridiculous, but really fun popcorn munching martial arts mash-up!

To be sure, there are flaws in the film. Some of the humor seems contrived or out of place. And the acting isn’t the greatest. But seriously, do you watch Fantasy/Swordplay/Horror/Comedy films for the great acting performances? No, of course not! You watch them for the action and the crazy CG visuals, all of which Ashura has in Spades. Not to be misleading, the film is not all non-stop Martial Arts Action, but it is spaced out generously enough with lots of swordplay and buckets of green blood to keep the average viewer more than happy.

Bottom line; the films has it’s flaws and is no martial arts epic like ’36 Chambers’, but it doesn’t try to be and it features interesting visuals and a great mix of Kung Fu swordplay. The reason the film worked for me is that it never takes itself too seriously and if the viewer does the same, they’re sure to be delighted by this cool blend of genres. Enjoy! Thomas DiSanto