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The samurai epic depicts the adventures of its titular character, one of 10 teen orphans raised by a master swordsman (Yoshio Harada) to become assassins and thwart the plans of an evil warlord (Naoto Takenaka). Azumi soon comes to question the ethics of her mission, but her moral qualms are quickly irrelevant when it comes to her eventual nemesis, the twisted Bijomaru (Joe Odagiri).

The plot, though, is not the main element in this kinetic action film, which in contemporary fashion uses plenty of wire work and CGI enhancements for its often highly gory fight sequences. Indeed, so much blood and so many limbs go flying towards the camera that it's a wonder that it wasn't made in 3-D.

The sheer accumulation of outrageous villains and wildly choreographed fight sequences ultimately proves more exhausting than exhilarating, though certainly the climactic sequence, a massive set piece featuring hundreds of extras that took two weeks to film, is one that will not quickly be forgotten. Takumi Furuya's stellar widescreen lensing ensures that all the action is rendered with the utmost visual clarity.