Aya Ueto as Azumi
It's always nice when someone you respect shares your opinion. So I was pleased to read Samuel L Jackson's list of his Top 10 New Classic Asian Films in the current double-issue of Entertainment Weekly (#999/1000, June 27 & July 4, 2008, page 24). Jackson, of course, knows a thing or two about action flicks. In fact, he co-starred, with Geena Davis, in one of my two favorite Hollywood action films, The Long Kiss Goodnight. (My other Hollywood favorite is John Woo's Face/Off.)
Coming in at number 6 was Azumi. I reviewed the DVD released by Urban Vision Entertainment in ACF 114, giving the film a 3.5 out of 4 star rating and the special features a 4 star rating. (My review of Azumi 2 appeared in ACF 115.)
Here's Jackson's complete list:
1. Oldboy (South Korea, 2003)
2. Audition (Japan, 1999)
3. City on Fire (Hong Kong, 1987)
4. Infernal Affairs 1, 2, & 3 (Hong Kong, 2002, 2003, 2003)
5. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Thailand, 2003)
6. Azumi (Jpana, 2003)
7. Family (Japan, 2007)
8. Duelist (South Korea, 2005)
9. Hard Boiled (Hong Kong, 1992)
10. Hero (China, 2002)
Aside from Family, the only film on his list that I haven't seen, I gotta say that Mr. Jackson has come up with quite a respectable top 10, or perhaps that should be top 12 if you count Infernal Affairs as three films.
I'm not that into making top ten lists myself, but if I did I'd include many of his picks, though most certainly not Duelist, which I liked it, but not that much.
Plus, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would have to be at the top of my list.