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Ai – Life In The Shadow of Death

Ai – Life In The Shadow of Death

Usually I use “low budget” as a justification for bad production values, campy execution or generally forgivable silliness in film-making but movies like Ai prove that even when you are working with a shoestring if you aren’t afraid to obsess a little over the details you can create something spectacular.
Plot-wise it is a pretty standard story, it’s an Asian-themed revenge story with a woman whose parents are killed who then trains under a sensei so that she can get revenge on the people who murdered her family. While it won’t win any awards for originality in script writing, it is one of the most well executed movies of this kind I’ve ever seen on the small screen.

Everything from the costumes to the choreography drips style and it looks like some serious time was put in to squeeze every bit of class out of what they had at their disposal. There were moments I forgot I wasn’t watching a scene from a feature film and that’s probably the best compliment I can give a made-for-the-web video.

If there is any downside at all to this film it’s exactly what I mentioned earlier, for all the time and effort that went into making this beautiful, a little more could have been done with the plot. This, however, is only the most minor of gripes and I cannot recommend this more.

Creator’s Description

A young woman, haunted by the memories of her parents being murdered, discovers the truth about herself and her sensei. Inspired by the great tradition of Japanese cinema, Ai is an exploration of themes that stem from the era of the fearless warriors, the samurai.


Cast: Yoshi Amao, Kuwayama “Bob” Yoshihisa
Youtube Channel: Zaffi Pictures
Website: Raffi Asdourian


The visual effects are stunning, the action is well scripted and the overall feel of the setting is extraordinarily well captured. (Style 5)

Pacing 4

While it is a classic revenge story is tightly scripted and well executed. (Storytelling 5)

This is a film quality experience, if it was fleshed out a little more I could imagine seeing a very similar movie in theaters. (Polish 4.5)

Watchability 4

Novelty 3

Overall Rating: ★★★★½