PictureThe 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer is very impressive. Detail and sharpness are incredibly high without any noticeable compression artefacts, scratches or any abuse of edge enhancement etc. Colours or accurate and very rich with barely any bleed at all. Outdoor scenes vary from dense woodland, to wide expanses of long grass, to mountainous rivers, and each one of these scenes is a beautifully satisfying combination of real earth colours, detailed rock faces and blood-splattered undergrowth.
SoundAzumi has an outstanding DTS 5.1 soundtrack that really combines well with the fight scenes on-screen to give that manly action movie flavour!! The approach is very much one of right-in-the-middle of the action is the best place to be, and in the (quite regular) scenes where four or more people are fighting, the camera will zoom in to the front pair fighting in the front audio channels and the other fighters who have been zoomed passed fight it out in the rear channels. Then as the camera moves once again the placement of characters around the 5 main channels very impressively follows the exact camera movement. The surround soundtrack is constantly active throughout the whole movie, even as the children sit around the fireplace discussing the days matters, the fire crackles away to the side, wind rustles around you and footsteps encroach across the soundstage. The Dolby Digital soundtrack is equally impressive, but as seems usual doesn't quite achieve the placement of the DTS offering. My only niggle goes back to the general mindless action nature of the movie, because of this with every single sword contact, large footstep, door slam etc comes a sharp burst of very over exaggerated bass!!
ExtrasUnfortunately all extras are in Japanese with what I assume to be Korean subtitles. There is plenty there to be seen and despite the language barrier I still flicked through some of the behind the scenes footage. However it meant nothing and was more eye candy than anything, the only understandable bit is the art gallery!
VerdictAzumi is a fast paced, high-budget action movie set in Japanese fantasy-action surroundings. It's visually impressive, it's loud and involving and it's set to some very impressive backdrops, but it's still just a mindless action movie. I like it, but for no particular reason other than to see a sexy chick beat the hell out of people with some impressive Samurai swordwork!!
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