Monday, February 5, 2007

This Just In

Several Japanese films make their DVD debut tomorrow, and I’ll profile some this week starting with what looks like a fun movie, Shinobi: Heart Under the Blade, directed by Ten Shimoyama.

Shinobi is promoted as a cross between X-Men and Romeo and Juliet, (sounds like great marketing even if the film doesn’t hold up to the comparison). However it won the 2005 Bunshun Kiichigo Award, the equivilent to a Razzie Award, as the worst Japanese film of the year. I'm not sure what criteria they use.

In the story, which was adapted from the novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls by Futaro Yamada, two Japanese villages that train Shinobi (something like a ninja), have been forbidden to come in contact with each other. The villagers have possessed mysterious, superhuman powers for the last 400 years, but now are compelled to meet in a duel.

The tournament-style duel pits Oboro, the granddaughter of Iga Tsubagakure’s chieftan, and Gennosuke, the heir of Koga Majidani’s chieftan. The two don’t know their respective positions, and fall in love destined by fate.

Let me know if you’ve seen this movie, and tell us what you think.

1 comment:

Steve Roth, Film Committee Chairman said...
Reviewer Chris Nelson offered us this take on Shinobi -- and this message:
"You know, I hadn't heard of that (the Bunshun Kiichigo Award). I don't hold much regard for the American Razzies though, so I would imagine the Japanese Razzies would be just as catty. Usually there are far worse films than the ones they choose to poo-poo. Still, I stand by my love for Shinobi. :)"