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  • There is only one reason I watched this film--to see the legendary martial artist/actor Sonny Chiba. He receives third billing but doesn't even appear until late in the film...what a ripoff! While I disagree with the other review in that I thought that the opening battle was good, the music during this important fight wasn't. It should have been epic or powerful but just came off as bad pop/rock music.

    Here's the plot. Every 12 years a ceremony is held to keep the gate sealed between this world and the demonic world. But, Demon's minion (Santoku) comes and destroys the group of priests and an eternity of bad stuff awaits unless they can get that gate shut. So, they have to track down the surviving monks to get this done. And who's to do this? Yep, a whole bunch of annoying as heck Japanese young hipster girls. And, as a result, it looks like it's a film that ONLY has appeal to young anime readers and absolutely no one else! It's like a film about demons fused with "Azu Manga Daio"--now THAT'S an obscure reference.

    The bottom line is that the film is poorly written, has VERY broad acting (the black actor sets back race relations 100 years...at least) and is just stupid. I think my rating of 2 is well earned. For shame, Sonny Chiba, you owe your fans much more than appearing in bilge like this!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'll generally watch anything with Sonny Chiba, but that doesn't mean I always like it.

    Although the DVD cover claims Chiba "stars" in this film, he doesn't appear until 2/3 into the story. Instead, the plot revolves around Ayumi (played by Ayumi Kinoshita), the disciple of a monk (played by Yasuaki Kurata) who was part of a group of guardians who fought some big battle 40 years ago to prevent a demon from opening the portal between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead (Vengeful spirits = bad, status quo = good). 40 years later, as the demon sends his minion (yes, just one) to again attempt a breach of the seal, Ayumi is tasked with rounding up any surviving members of the original band of guardians to prevent the demon from succeeding. The problem is that most of them are dead and the monk has lost touch with the others. So they have to settle for their disciples--a rag tag band of Japanese teenagers plus a 'gaijin' of African-descent (whose portrayal in this film was just thoroughly racist) who need to be trained and molded into proper warriors before they can take on the demon and his minion (yup, same one).

    Obviously, no one is watching this film for the complexity of the storyline. Sadly, the action is pretty uninspiring. The "massive battle" in beginning of the film involving the demon's minion and nearly 3 dozen monks should have been spectacular. Instead, it was so badly choreographed it came across as amateurish. The duel between Chiba and Kurata at the end is just about the only highlight of the film, but you have to sit through the entire movie to see it, and it's just not worth it (well, I guess you can fast forward to it, but then the battle wouldn't make much sense).