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>
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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