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Action / Japanese / 2003

For the Action Movie Countdown.

It's been on my watchlist for a long time, let's check it out.

"An assassin is unable to choose whom to kill.
Depending on your mission, sometimes you must kill a child..."

Fish, Fishing, Horses.

Come, my children, grab a mat and sit as your lecherous old grandpa tells you the tale of a young girl and her story...

It all begins with a MAN. A stupid old man who having seen too many battles vows to create a team of assassins for the purpose of killing warlords so as to prevent war from ever happening again.

He collects 10 orphans, among which is Token Girl, Azumi, and raises them to be assassins. He then demands that they pair up with the one they like most and kill them. Because to stop killing... you must KILL.

He and the 5 then venture off on their undisclosed mission to kill all warlords. They encounter a bandit raid and he graces upon them, with his wealth of wisdom, the words, "killing bandits won't change a nation". Perfectly true, to stop war the only path is murder, and the only path to murder is apathy, so next time you see somebody in trouble, DON'T interfere. Even if it's a slaughter you could easily prevent, do nothing. Only then will atrocities like this be stopped.

Azumi comes upon a seemingly kind man and kills him and his entire party. YES, that is more war prevented. The death of the man reaches the ears of his superior who immediately suspects a blameless foreign power and plans for war. When Azumi and co. find and kill his body double, he sends out a most respected group of assassins to assassinate the assassins. They immediately find unarmed traveling performers and chase them down despite the fact that they don't match the description and there are "too many girls and not enough men".

Azumi and co. manage to only save one girl who is privileged to watch her forced love interest die at the hands of an Evil Bishie. Azumi wishes to avenge him, but the girl insists that "girls don't talk like that" and "somebody else can do it, it doesn't have to be you". Mmmm yes, sexism and cowardice do make for the most compelling drama.

So too, incidentally, does blood geysers. Did you know this was based on a manga? It's an excellent manga. Imagine if they retroactively applied blood geysers to the manga...

There's also an unnatractive ninja named "Monkey" who is dubbed with monkey noises. Surely a merit no movie should be without.

Sadly, no amount of lesbian undertones and rape can sheathe Azumi's sword and she soon rejoins the fight to bring down the one-and-only warlord of any concern: the one they specifically antagonized.

When she arrives at the Big Bad's fort she witnesses her Master, crucified and slit across the throat followed by Evil Bishie's provocation "you must come or he'll die". NO MORE EPIC A CHALLENGE HAS EVER BEEN SPOKEN, to think that her Master, who forced her to kill her friends, who abandoned civilians to be raped and murdered, who instigated a war, and is now bleeding from a mortal wound...

Such an affront shall not stand. Azumi takes their entire army on almost single-handedly with the help of no less than masterfully inconsistent continuity and exquisitely transparent wire-fu.

The bad guys, who have thus far done nothing wrong, even TURN ON EACH OTHER thanks to their archers' and gunmens' Stormtrooper Shooting Lessons. Evil Bishie even kills several of his own in a blood frenzy before pulling a rose out of his ass and getting decapitated in gloriously computer-generated fashion... but not before Hideo Kojima grabs his balls.

I'm ****ing serious.

With everyone else inexplicably dead (even though I'm pretty sure some of them were only kicked to the ground), Azumi approaches her Master who's still inexplicably alive. He tells her the most emotionally damning words in any movie I've yet seen:

"It's over."

I can already tell those two words have brought you to tears. After losing all of her friends and her Master, after she stood by and watched as countless pedestrians suffered extremely preventable deaths, and now after personally slaughtering an entire army of people who've never wronged her... it's finally over. It's all over.

Everyone's dead.

Except for the one guy they were trying to kill who's gonna start a war, he escaped on a boat, but EVERYONE ELSE IS DEAD.

Azumi weeps for her master before we cut to the Big Bad, in the middle of the ocean, having an extremely conspicuous Villain Laugh. Azumi appears, bone-dry, over the side of the boat and slays him, escaping back out into the water with no sign of any boats for her to have gotten there in the first place with.

Sudden jumpcut back to the fort, still full of corpses and in her old dry clothes, she discovers one of her friends inexplicably survived a point-blank explosion and swears to him that she will continue her senseless murderous rampage for peace... IN THE SEQUEL.

And so, children, that was the story of Azumi, a nubile and strangely attractive young girl with no personality or drive to question her elders. And in that spirit I have a game I would like to play with you... it's lots of fun, I promise. Grandpa's going to touch you somewhere and you can't tell Mommy, okay?

Final Verdict:
[Irredeemably Awful]