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I must confess to a particular fondness for thetwo films of John Frankenheimer's that he himself didn't seem to have much affection for: Prophecy(about mutant bears in the woods of Maine) and his one, The Challenge. I remember seeing this in theaters back in '82 and really digging it. The script by John Sayles moves along at a nice clip and Scott Glenn is well cast and well used ( for once) as the down on his luck American boxer who finds himself involved in an age old blood feud between two opposing ways of life in Japan; there is an interesting tension between the good guys and the bad guys: East/West as well as Modern/Traditional. (Clever fellow, that Mr Sayles.)The major character arc for Scott Glenn's American pug is not at all dissimilar to that later adopted by Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. Not only does this film have one of the last major performances in a western film from that towering figure of Japanese cinema, Toshiro Mifune, but it boasts what remains one of the all-time classic modern sword fights in the climactic showdown in a giant gleaming glass and steel Japanese office building. Scott Glenn and Atsuo Nakamura slash each other to ribbons with samurai swords then resort to stapling each other's faces and shocking each other with severed computer cables during the final battle and it is choreographed, shot and edited, with a snappy sense of kineticism. Bravo to all involved.
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