Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shinobi - Heart Under Blade

Shinobi - Heart Under BladeThe dvd of SHINOBI HEART UNDER BLADE U.S. version is almost an exact duplicate of the Region-3 Thai version. I have both the 3-disc Japanese region-2 copy and the Hong Kong Region-3 DTS-ES dvd. The japanese and Hk releases have the best transfers. If you have multi-region capability, buy the Japanese or Hong Kong versions. But whatever you do, do not miss this film.

The following review applies to the Hong Kong Region-3 release:

I just finished watching my dvd copy of this film and felt that I have to review this marvelously tragic but hopeful film. Mind you, this SHINOBI film does not follow any of the video-game inspired Shinobi titles, rather it is based on the JAPANESE FEUDAL LEGEND from which both the video game and the anime series "Basilisk" were based on.

In order for you to love this film, you have to have an idea of Japanese customs and their unrelenting loyalty to their emperor/leader. For them, their Emperor is like a living God-man. That is why when a new Shogunate has united feudal Japan, he fears that the wrath of the SHINOBI may upset the balance of power. SHINOBI is the elite NINJA clan, who has been trained since birth in the art of combat and warfare.

Two Ninja clans has had a truce for years that the new Lord of the shogunate has lifted this truce and has misled them into believing that each clan will help decide who will ascend to the role of shogun(in the future) should they have 5 of their greatest and most skilled warriors to battle each other in a contest to the death. Gennusuke and Oboro are the lovers caught in the middle because each have ascended to the role of chieftain in their respective clans. In truth, the Shogunate rulers wish to destroy their clans because they fear their powers/skills and that one day rise up against the Supreme Shogunate of Japan. They believe since their goal is peace and prosperity, war mongers should be extinct because they believe that without war, they have no purpose. Some members of the clans also believe this.

Each clan warrior has character and depth, with variable skills and abilities. One warrior is like a chameleon, one has simian-like agility, one has NEAR-immortality, a woman has poison that goes around her skin/breath, one is a blind psychic among others.

The film itself is very tragic and when Oboro makes the supreme sacrifice to save the children/families of both clans, even the shogunate had to believe that the SHINOBI can have more than one purpose in life.

The set designs were awesome and the characters were well designed. The special effects weren't all hokey and fit the movie's pace. As in most samurai films, the battles were quick and exciting, although not overly bloody.

The film is one of the best ASIAN fantasy-epic films I've seen thus far. The dvd I have was mastered in High-def widescreen(EXTREMELY SHARP transfer) with 5.1 (DTS)digital audio(I didn't get mind in AMAZON). I highly recommend this film, now I have to cry for a PREQUEL about the warring clans before! 4.5 stars all the way!!

Kagero ROCKS!!


ADDED: I managed to see the U.S. region-1 release by Funimation. It is less than 2 minutes shorter than the region-3 DTS-ES Hong Kong release. Nothing relevant was missing, except for an extended beginning and Oboro's encounter with one of the Kouga warriors. The video of the Asian release is a lot sharper/crisper than the Funimation transfer. As I thought, the Funimation transfer was derived from the Thai version.

In the same spirit of Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, Shinobi goes very deep into cultural roots with a heavy dose of "Animé" like action to create a compelling love story rich with visual fanfare.

Though the romantic plot is not as powerful as Crouching Tiger or House of Flying Daggers, it is still a compelling story for which you will want to know how it ends. But frankly, the real meat and potatoes of this movie is about the combat and the very Animé inspired characters. There are other live action animés out there, but this has quickly taken it's place to my number one favorite amongst them. Bonus points for making this accessible to the open non-initiated public. Naruto fans should find the same kind of interesting character concepts, save for the fact that everything is taken with a very mature tone (no teen aged ninjas here). Anyone who liked Warriors of Zu Mountain or Storm Riders will definitely want to pick this up.

Buy Shinobi - Heart Under Blade Now

While the other user here's comment is notable, that it does not state that it is dubbed in English, I find it deplorable that because of this one reason he rated such an excellent movie 1 star.. This is an injustice to this great movie.. I know that we lazy Americans want a one-stop-shop so we expect to find 100% of the info we need here on Amazon when renting a movie, but even though Amazon didn't include that one detail of information.. I mean.. Come on... It's a foreign film (of Japanese culture I believe?) and most all foreign films are either entirely or partially in their native language. If you really want to be a bugger about it, then pop open a new window, hit up […], type in for example "Shinobi Heart Under Blade," the IMDB will come up in the first few listings, click on it and look for language and subtitles. Takes less than one minute..

Okay.. Rant over.. This is an amazing movie, absolutely amazing. It is a great martial arts movie with a few aspects of wire-fu (i.e. Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, etc.) and the rest of plain old martial arts, but good martial arts! The fight scenes are awesome. There is a Romeo and Juliet type love story as well for the romantics. The two featured on the cover are the heirs to each of the two Shinobi tribes which have always warred with one another, more particularly now so that there is peace among the land and their culture knows nothing but fighting. The movie has aspects of mysticism as well, almost sci-fi. There are some parts that seem to hint or directly imply magic, and other parts that feel like a foreign X-Men film. The back story and primary story is worthy of a classic foreign epic. Maybe not in the top best of all time, but definitely one of the better. (I watch a lot of foreign films and this movie ranks up there with the best I've seen in this year next to The Warlords with Jet Li, Red Cliff, and IP Man).

So maybe this will help any moviegoers interested in a great movie with a variety easily appealing to all genders, ages and races. Other than the actual stated fact that this is dubbed in English please disregard the other users rating, this movie is a 4.5 out of 5 minimum.. ENJOY! =)

Read Best Reviews of Shinobi - Heart Under Blade Here

Since I am drawn to the subject of ninjas in general, I had to check out this film no matter what. While I do not regret purchasing this DVD, for it's certainly well-produced and visually pleasing. I can't help but think that this story would've been served best by using a mini-series format that could've fleshed out the characters more thoroughly and further develop the drama and details of this saga (as hinted by the characters' histories in the Official Movie website). It was certainly a pleasant experience albeit without any real plot twists or surprises.

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You cannot compare this with the western style of action... If you want a film which combines love and martial arts, then this film is for you. I've watched it twice and I'm still amazed by it.

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