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Aragami (2003)

DVD Cover (Tokyo Shock)
Genres:
Action, Fantasy, Horror, Psychological Thriller, Samurai Film, Supernatural Thriller
Director:
Ryûhei Kitamura Ryûhei Kitamura
Starring:
Takao Ohsawa Takao Ohsawa
Masaya Katô Masaya Katô
Kanae Uotani Kanae Uotani
Tak Sakaguchi Tak Sakaguchi
Hideo Sakaki Hideo Sakaki

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Christopher
Added: March 19, 2005
Two wounded samurai retreat to a nearby temple up in the mountains. After entering the temple, they both fall to the ground. One of the samurai awake to find himself fully healed. He is greeted by the female that had let him in, along with a man who also lives in the temple. When the samurai ask about the man who brought him to the temple, he is informed that he had too many wounds and was unable to be healed. The samurai's plan was to leave the temple and return his fallen partner to his family. The man insisted that he stay over night due to the war going on below the mountains.

During the samurai's stay, the man tells him an old story about the mountain the temple is placed on. There is a demon that resides deep in the mountains and feasts on the flesh of men. Tengu is this demon's name. That is what the Japanese have named him, the real name of the demon is Aragami. The man reveals that he is that demon and the only way the samurai can repay the man for healing him and giving him such hospitality is to kill him. For years he has lived in the temple, trying to find a man suitable enough for a fair battle, but none have crossed his path, until now.

He then explains to the samurai how he was healed. After thirteen stab wounds and four arrows to the back, he shouldn't be alive right now. But the liver of his partner was cooked and served to him. It's said a part of the human body will heal all wounds, which turns out to be true. Out of anger, the samurai begins to fight with Aragami. After getting his sword broken, Aragami stabs him in the chest, which makes the samurai bleed an immense amount. Thinking he's about to die, he starts pouting like a girl. When Aragami informs him he's not dying, he checks his chest and the stab wound is no where to be found. He's not immortal though. If he's stabbed in the heart or has his head cut off, he will quickly die.

Aragami sits the samurai down to explain to him why exactly he wants to die and how he seems to be the only man who can kill him in battle. With no friends or family to return to, the samurai accepts his challenge. Several deadly weapons are laid out in front of the samurai since his sword was useless. He stores a gun in his kimono, puts on a large metal glove, and chooses the sword of his dead partner. As the two have one last drink, the samurai spits his drink into Aragami's face. When Aragami blocks it with a small Japanese fan, the samurai cuts off his arm. Aragami snaps his arm back into place and begins what he hopes is his last battle.

A different kind of period time film. It doesn't revolve around a particular culture of Japanese, they act and speak how they would in modern times. But due to the presentation of the temple and the kimonos's the two are wearing, it obviously takes place in past time. The inside of the temple had an old Buddhist look to it, but also a look of abandonment as torn bright red pieces of cloth hung from the ceiling and the only actual items in the temple were small carpets to sit on and a very large statue that Aragami had carved to look like himself. This would be the only place seen in the film.

Takao Osawa (Samurai) is known mostly for drama films, this being his first actual action film. Never even having the want to perform in such a film, being such a big fan of Ryuhei Kitamura, he had a large want to be in the film. His performance was excellent. He character was to be serious, but at the same time keep his humor in things. Masaya Kato (Aragami) played the character that was an undefeated swordsman that had no worries at all. Another perfectly done performance. Kanae Uotani was the woman that kept Aragami company and served him what he needed. She was to be as diligent as possible and had very few lines. Not a lot to mess up, but she performed flawlessly.

The first half of the film was a contemporary play, mostly done by Aragami. He explained his life as a whole. How he grew up, his want to be a warrior, his battles, why he began living in the temple. Eventually ending up with how his whole life has been a battle and how he wants to end it to a man with enough skills to take his place. The second half is the battle between the two. A lot of interesting visual effects through out the fight. Whenever the swords would hit each other hard enough, sparks would fly. They eventually cut the candles with their swords, causing the room to be lit only by the flash of their swords hitting together and the occasional lightning from the storm. That lighting scene in general was just amazing.

Final Conclusion: 9/10
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Chad #1: Chad - added 03/20/2005, 07:28 AM
This was a part of the Duel Project along with Yukihiko Tsutsumi's 2LDK (which has already been reviewed by yours truly). Just for reference. Brokaw, over and out.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 03/24/2005, 07:23 AM
would this be in blockbuster or do I have to start looking on ebay and shit?
Chad #3: Chad - added 03/27/2005, 01:00 PM
It's available on Netflix, so it's not too underground... but I couldn't tell you about Blockbuster, I have a sort of personal boycott against them.
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