ASHURA - REVIEW
More along the lines of Casshern than the recent anime-style extreme gore subgenre which is sweeping Japanese cinema by storm, Ashura is actually not so much about the gratuitous violence and gore but rather about its opera-style story and general melodramatic feel.
Adapted from a play, Ashura is very theatrical throughout and often feels like a cross between an opera, anime, a samurai film, an Onimusha video game and a cheesy Hammer horror film. There's dodgy CGI and way too many green-screened backgrounds but overall the film still looks pretty decent. It's the performances though which keep the whole thing afloat: some are hammy, some are very good: it's a mixed bag but overall the cast keep Ashura entertaining throughout.
That said, the film still feels much longer than it is and could have done with a shorter running time and a faster pace. It remains compelling throughout though and it's worth a look if you're interested in Kabuki or any of the other genres mentioned above. It's not as delirious (or bloated) as Casshern but then again...maybe that's a good thing.
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