Osami, a soldier-of-fortune from Japan, joins with priest Ensai in a quest for the ashes of the great Buddha. Their journey takes them to a kingdom in the Middle East, where they find intrigue and romance in the court of an evil king.
Liberated from a slave auction, Osami joins with priest Ensai on a quest to find and deliver relics of the Buddha to Osami's brother in the Middle East for transport to Japan. They join with a camel caravan crossing the vast western desert, then are captured by a tyrant king. The king, who has lost his belief in the goodness of man, allows Osami the chance to complete the delivery of the relics to his brother on the promise that Osami return within three days to suffer burning at the stake. If Osami does not return in time, the innocent Ensai will die in his stead. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This film stars actor Toshiro Mifune as a sword-wielding Japanese student named Osami. Here, a monk journeys down the Silk Road to find the relics of Buddha, where he meets Osami. The two travelers stumbled upon a conspiracy to overthrow the King in the Castle of Kigan. From there, it is an epic battle between Mifune, the local citizens against the evil rebels.
This movie is very colorful. The King's castle is full of beautiful designs, serene-looking sceneries, nice furniture and a vibrant atmosphere. The characters' costumes were gorgeous. The special effects were a little campy, but good all together. Godzilla producer Tomoyuki Tanaka returns to helm this film, as well as composer Akira Ifukube, who provided another haunting score. We get to hear strands of music reworked or reused by Ifukube from past monster movies in this film. The story is refreshing and the characters gave solid performances. The plot of how Mifune's character would go to any lengths and heights to help the monk demonstrates true human nature of goodness. This film also arouses the sympathy of the King, who has lost his trust on mankind, and suppresses his own Queen and the local villagers. Therefore, we get to see if the student and the monk can turn the King around with their acts of commitment and friendship.
This film also echos elements from an earlier Toho film, "The Lost World of Sinbad," which also stars Mifune. Both movies consist of a daring rescue-the-castle mission, and both movies portrait a woman-loving wizard and an evil witch played by actors Ichiro Arishima and Eisei Amamoto. The two add magic and intriguing fun in this film, delivering an epic scene of good vs. evil. And, this movie features an all-star cast. In addition to Mifune, Arishima and Amamoto, it also stars Tadao Nakamaru, Akihiko Hirata, Tatsuya Mihasi, Makato Sato, Jun Tazaki, Yumi Shirakawa, Mie Hama and Akiko Wakabayashi.
The only problems I have with this movie are that the wizard and witch did not use their magic on screen enough, and the villagers and female leads were not emphasized enough. Other than that, this film is a good mixture of drama and comedy: the breathtaking journey of the monk trying to find Buddha's relics while avoiding rebel attacks, the daring rescue-the-castle mission, the wizardry magic and the action-packed climax all blend in to provide us a very entertaining feature.
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