Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »
In the 17th century Japan is divided between two forces. The eastern army lead by the Warlord Tokugawa Ieyasu and the western army which fights for Toyotomi's clan. Despite wining a recent ... See full summary »
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 »
In the Edo period, a nameless ronin accepts an assignment to go to a mountain pass and wait. Near the pass he stops at an inn where a collection of characters gather, including a gang set ... See full summary »
Based on a centuries-old traditional Japanese fairy tale, a country couple finds a baby girl in some bamboo and raises her as their own daughter. Not the same as the original tale, though, ... See full summary »
Years after the death of legendary tea master Rikyu, his disciple Honkakubo attempts to resolve the mystery of the master's death. Years before: Sen Rikyu is a ceremonial tea master who ... See full summary »
Feudal Japan. Kamo Serizawa and Isami Kondo turn a collection of student fencers into a band of assassins known as the Shinsen Group, devoted to the Tokugawa shogunate and to an elegant ... See full summary »
Way back in 1980, I saw "The Bushido Blade" as a late night premiere on CBS. Much younger then, I was fairly impressed with the romance and action and the film was fondly remembered over the decades.
25 years later, the film comes out in DVD and I had to get it.
My disappointment was palpable. Richard Boone gives a loud, obnoxious performance as Commodore Matthew Perry, top billed James Earl Jones, while in fine voice and shape, only appears for about 2 minutes of screen time. The rugged Frank Converse comes off fairly well, but I can't understand why a Japanese actress was not cast as Tomoe instead of Laura Gemser. Sonny Chiba and Mako make good impressions, but something's not right when Mayumi Asano, playing Yuki, gives the best performance in the film. And this, with virtually no dialog. But, perhaps, that explains it right there.
Poorly written by William Overgard, a Rankin-Bass in-house hack, the story, beginning with an offensive minstrel show, is about the search by American sailors for a stolen ceremonial samurai sword, meant as a gift for the President of the United States in 1854 Japan. The three Americans are aided in their search by noble samurai Chiba and half-caste warrior Gemser. What bothers me most is the lack of any texture in the story. Most scenes take place against utilitarian sets with no detail. The countryside, where most of what passes as action takes place, is flatly filmed. Worst of all, none of the local Japanese have any significant dialog, and surprisingly, have no involvement in the story, but, act only as background color for the three or four major characters. Very strange. I think there are less than 10 speaking roles and half of those are of the "Yes, Sir. No, Sir" variety from extras.
After some disappointing samurai battle action over the sword against a lord and his poorly trained army of warriors...it just ends. You might be surprised by the suddenness of the fade out, but, that's all there is. I understand there is an alternate version running about 10 minutes longer, but, besides an extended ending, I can't imagine what might be missing or added to improve things. In retrospect, viewing the film after so many years brought back certain story reservations I had even as a youngster. Plot holes abound and the final fate of the sword and it's pursuers is not ironic as intended, but just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?