Set in Japan in the 16th century (or so), an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them, or cause them to turn on each other...and him...
A group of idealistic young men, determined to clean up the corruption in their town, are aided by a scruffy, cynical samurai who does not at all fit their concept of a noble warrior. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
When Sanjuro has to kill about a dozen of Kikui's men and then smacks three of the young samurai for forcing him to kill so many, Toshirô Mifune slapped the three young actors for real. As seen in the film, the slaps both surprised the actors and knocked them backwards. See more »
When the Chamberlain's nephew goes to peek over the wall to check if Kikui's house is full of troops, he supports himself on the wall which bends slightly, belying its supposed sturdiness. See more »
[recounting his story about his falling out with his ugly-yet-noble uncle]
I met the Superintendent.
What did he say?
He was cooperative. At first he looked embarrassed, but the story of my uncle shocked him. He pondered. "All right", he said, "I'll help you. I'll talk with your group. Gather them quickly. That's what he said."
A powerful support for us. Not a good-natured scarecrow.
[All laugh, then turn to face the sound of loud yawns coming from the darkness outside]
[...] See more »
With a near clean lineup of masterpieces under his belt, nobody could fault Kurosawa for wanting to make a simple piece of entertainment. This simple aspiration did not stop him from making another hugely influential success.
Sanjuro is a loose sequel to the classic Yojimbo. The character is back, as is, confusingly, Tatsuya Nakadai as a completely different character. The landscape and tone are entirely new, lighter, jollier. It is almost a spoof of its predecessor,as Mifune's nonchalant and perpetually unwashed antihero helps a group of goody- two-shoes samurai save their framed master. This is also the first on-screen collaboration between Toshiro Mifune and the young Yuzo Kayama, before they costared to such memorable effect on Redbeard.
Nobody spoofs Kurosawa better than the man himself: this is without a doubt his funniest film, yet he never treats it as a second-class product. No slouch, the director peppers this light romp with unforgettable visual flourishes, enraptured homages to the American Westerns that so inspired him, and an end-note of surprising violence, the likes of which Tarantino could only dream of.
At a fast-paced 96 minutes, this is probably a great entry point into the cinema of Akira Kurosawa, and a film that would be much more highly regarded had it not come from such an established filmmaker.
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