Feudal Japan, 1543 to 1562. Kansuke Yamamoto is a samurai who dreams of a country united, peaceful from sea to sea. He enters the service of Takeda, the lord of Kai domain. He convinces ... See full summary »
With his closest friend, Matahachi, Takezo (the town's wild, orphan kid) leaves his village to join an army on its way to battle. After their side loses, they seek shelter in the isolated ... See full summary »
Impersonating an Imperial Army officer by wearing a "red lion's mane", a poor servant returns to his village after 10 years of absence to end the village's suffering caused by corrupt ... See full summary »
Tange Tenzen and Nakayama Yasubei are honorable samurai living in an era of corrupt officials and treacherous clans. But after finding themselves in opposing clans and ensnared in a love ... See full summary »
Shinpachi, a poor samurai with no prospects, gets in an argument with Magodayu, a high-ranking officer, resulting in an illegal duel and Magodayu's death. To save face for both familes, ... See full summary »
(Japanese with English subtitles) A disgraced warrior planning the murder of a Japanese diplomat, and a ninja in the employ of a navy official are about to land in San Francisco when a band... See full summary »
Izo Okada, a ronin (masterless samurai), desperately seeks a way out of his financial straits. He allies himself with the Tosa clan under the ruthless leader, Takechi, and imagines that he ... See full summary »
Satisfying chambara action with tongue firmly in cheek
Both the strength and the major weakness of Kiru! is that it refuses to take itself too serious. Although there are some notable moments where Okamoto goes for the dramatic angle (the squad leader whose wife works in the brothel facing off with Tatsuya Nakadai's character for one) and does it well, he keeps sabotaging his own movie. In that aspect, Kiru is definitely not a formal jidai-geki but more of a light-hearted samurai action film.
Kihachi Okamoto might not be well known outside chambara circles, but he's one of the best in the genre and definitely at the top of his game directing action. Fresh from the devastating Sword of Doom (his magnum opus and one of Japanese cinema's finest moments), he brings a fresh, wild approach to his action. Less stylized and formal but more energetic. In terms of samurai cinema, the movie opens in a rundown little village and with the dust and winds blowing the whole setup is eerily reminiscent of Yojimbo setting. The plot is a crossover of sorts between Kurosawa's Sanjuro movies and the themes Eiichi Kudo explored in his Samurai Revolution trilogy (samurais ambushing and assassinating a daimyo for the honour of their clan etc). It may seem a bit convoluted and off-putting to the uninitiated, but that's typical in films of this kind.
With regards to the comedy angle, while Kiru is a light-hearted fare, it's definitely not laugh-out-loud funny. A lot is lost in the translation I guess, but sometimes the comedic timing of Tatsuya Nakadai as the cunning, sly yakuza (a welcome change from the tortured soul characters he played in the 60's) and Etsushi Takahashi as the overzealous farmer with samurai ambitions shine through.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?