|Sanjuro (DVD, 1999, Criterion Collection) Toshirô Mifune Director: Akira Kurosaw|
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Far Rockaway, NY, USA
|Kurosawa's SANJURO DVD- sequel to YOJIMBO - VERY RARE - OOP- Toshiro Mifune|
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Goshen, NY, USA
|Sanjuro (The Criterion Collection): Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Koba|
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Average review score based on 8 user reviews
Director Akira Kurosawa and leading actor Toshiro Mifune revisit the character that was they made popular in "Yojimbo: The Bodyguard" (remade by Sergio Leone as "A Fistfull of Dollars"). One of Kurosawa's lighter workers, "Sanjuro" tells of the wandering "samurai with no name" -- played by Mifune -- who helps a group of naive young samurai sort a case of small-town corruption. Also features Japanese star Tatsuya Nakadai and Takashi Shimura (another Kurosawa favorite and star of "The Seven Samurai") in villainous roles. Along with being highly watchable and highly entertaining, this Criterion Collection edition is a superb version to own.
This film continues the story of the character introduced in Yojimbo, but is much lighter and comic throughout. Mifune Toshiro continues his masterful characterization of the nameless, scruffy ronin (satirized by John Belushi many years later). Think of wily, but skilled warrior, with fleas.
While Yojimbo is comic, it is of a decidely dark kind (the famous scene early in the movie, in which the main character is surprised by a mongrel trotting by with a human hand in its mouth). And where Yojimbo painted a picture of a lawless wasteland town populated only by a handful of good people (and even they have their faults), in Sanjuro we have a more 'traditional' conflict involving a corrupt samurai clan official and his minions.
That's not to say that Sanjuro does not have teeth, but it mostly keeps them hidden until toward the end of the movie. This is just a fun movie, and watching Mifune's sly, twitchy performance is a joy. And Kurosawa's movie-making skills are amply represented here.
This Criterion edition is well-done, and like most of their editions presents a technically accomplished transfer of sound and image.
I give it a four out of five, because it is a less complex work of a great master. Even at this, it's a better film than most.
P.S. I highly recommend that you watch Yojimbo first. The two movies work well together. Also Criterion is releasing both movies as a set in early 2007, promising an improved transfer and better subtitles.
I have been enjoying classic Japanese samurai films from childhood, and I have come to appreciate them more as I grow older. This sequel to "Yojimbo" does not disappoint!
This film is a must for those of you who appreciate a wry sense of humor and non verbal expression of wit. Toshiro Mifune (Sanjuro) plays the part of a jaded, cynical, but paradoxically honorable samurai to the hilt. The nine younger samurai reminded me of lion cubs who bound and growl with bravado while not realizing that they haven't the skills to bring down a sick sheep. Toshiro Mifune is the king of the pride, who gruffly smacks them back in line with his biting sarcasm.
My favorite character, however, is the wife of the kidnapped chamberlain whom the ten are trying to rescue. Her exaggerated but believable nobility and gentle femininity cow even the deadly and hardened Mifune, making him act like a school boy who is caught picking his nose.
All in all, the brief but stunning climax at the end of the film, with it's casual anticlimax, left me chuckling and applauding Kurasawa yet again
This movie is really good. I liked it better than Yojimbo, but they are both excellent. Throne of Blood seems to have the most 1500sy look to it, very real feeling, like you are transported back in time. You must also see Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Although he didnt make it, I'd also recommend Sword of Doom, it stars the one of the same actors from this movie.
But this one I will always like, its very humorous and lighthearted, compared to Yojimbo, but the swordplay and violence is darker and more hardcore, interestingly.
A must see for any samurai or Kurosawa fan!
Probably not as popular as the first in the duology, Yojimbo, Sanjuro still stands on its own as a sequel, and well at that. Akira Kurosawa's direction and pacing is excellent throughout, as in all of his movies, and the story just unfolds itself magnificently. Toshiro Mifune is at the top of his game here as a wandering ronin, swaggering into town to help root out evil in the local dan- double-crosses, back-stabbings and plot twists abound. This is really a must see for a fan of classic Japanese cinema, as well as anyone who wants to watch a great movie.