Kuro-obi (Black Belt) (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Kuro-obi (Black Belt) (2007)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Director Shunichi Nagasaki and screenwriter George Iida ponder the delicate balance between fierce confrontation and moral reflection as related to the realm of defensive martial arts in this thoughtful tale of two students divided by their disparate beliefs. The decade is the 1930s, and the setting is a secluded dojo on the southernmost Japanese island of Kyushu. As watchful sensei Eiken Shibahara (Shinya Ohwada) reinforces the defensive aspect of the martial arts to his three most dedicated students, a military police force led by the forebodingly stern Captain Tanahara (Hakuryu) arrive to forcefully eject the peaceful group. The confrontation fast turning physical, principled pupil Giryu (Akihito Yagi) responds to the absurd orders by successfully defending himself against the grim-faced Captain. Aggressive fellow student Taikan (Tatsuya Naka) mocks Giryu's passive stance, and after the officer wounds third student Choei (Yuji Suzuki), Giryu is left to die after being forced over a cliff. But Giryu isn't out of the fight just yet, because as the traitorous Taikan teaches Captain Tanahara's men how to adopt martial arts for combative purposes, the more traditional student is generously nursed back to health by a kind local family. Later, Giryu and Taikan clash in the ultimate battle of corruption versus tradition. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 18, 2008
Runtime:
Klock Worx Co. - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Kuro-obi (Black Belt)

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Variety
Top Critic

Like a 1962 martial-arts movie, influenced by the landscape of American Westerns and relying on A-to-B storytelling, villains and heroes unfettered by backstory or motive.

Full Review… | July 5, 2011
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Audience Reviews for Kuro-obi (Black Belt)

½

Set in the early years of the Showa Era in Japan, the story revolves around three men who aspire to receive the "kuro-obi" that can go only to the rightful successor. In contrast to modern martial arts film where wires, CGI or stylized filmmaking techniques are used to dazzle audiences with stylized action scenes, the director has combined a character-driven story with the talents of real black belt karate masters/actors Akihito Yagi, Tatsuya Naka and Yuji Suzuki.

The film makers have gone for style and substance over mindless entertainment and produce a very entertaining story of 3 students deciding their paths after their sensei has passed and the military has requisitioned the dojo. This is real karate, real fast, so be sure not to blink or you might miss something

DrBenway
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

½

"Real Fight, Real Karate, Real Japan." That tag line about sums up this karate action drama picture from Shunichi Nagasaki.Set in 1930's Japan Black Belt tells the tale of 3 karate students after their master reaches the after life. Actually, 2 of the students become the focus of the film, while the 3rd falls into the background. The story follows the paths taken by the 2 main characters and they are quite different. One follows his master's teachings, while the other strays away down his own dark path. In a sense, this movie has the good versus evil concept going for it. With that said, the plot is VERY predictable and there are no real surprises. The pacing is also very slow with only a moderate amount of action. The 90 minutes will not fly by.What this movie will do is catch certain people's attention with the realism of the characters and settings, the message of the story, and the focus on karate. This is all fine and dandy, but many will still find this movie to be quite uneventful.The action is all realistic karate fights. This means there is no fancy choreography or any wire work involved. This also means that the fights aren't all that entertaining, unless one appreciates the style of karate. The film even switches to black and white for the final fight.The nice thing about the casting is that 3 real-life karate masters are chosen for the 3 students. This is why the film is as realistic as it is. Their acting is also pretty good.Black Belt isn't about fancy martial arts or cheap thrills and this will pretty much determine who will enjoy it and who won't. Give this film a try if this sounds like something for you.

skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

awesome movie. a bit slow at times but I really liked it. very different from modern MA flicks. To me its right up there with "fighter in the wind".

cyclonejokah
Richard Ohaver

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