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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 battle, things look grim for the eastern army. Toyotomi's army has a supply of modern firearms, a weapon which might turn the tides of war. Tokugawa Ieyasu send his trusted samurai Mayeda and his son Yourimune to Spain. There they are to purchase 5000 muskets. But it's a dangerous journey and there are many who plot against them. And when they finally arrive in Spain, nothing goes the way they expected. Written by
Mattias Pettersson <email@example.com>
I must admit that I have been a sucker for Samurai flicks since I can remember. I used to watch rather indiscriminate, be it "elitist" works like The Seven Samurai or the bloody comic-book variation like Lone Wolf and Cub. I also liked US-/Japanese "Crossovers" like The Bushido Blade. And of course everything containing Sonny Chiba and Hiroyuki Sanada. And I've virtually watched every Samurai at least twice. But not Kabuto.
In 1993 I first watched Kabuto on video, that even Samurai films can be boring. In the beginning I was looking forward to Mayeda reaching Europe and the confrontations that would come from that but by the time he actually reached Spain, I really didn't care so much for the movie anymore.
It wouldn't do the film justice to call it "bad". Technically it's a clean entry into the genre. But there is simply never quiet enough. Sho Kosugi has limited skills as both director and actor and has only a fraction of above mentioned Japanese actors charisma. And speaking of Sho Kosugis son Kane, who appears in almost all Sho Kosugi films as Shos son: he has inherited little-to-none of his fathers limited acting skills. Adding to the minus-points is the absence of the blood and gore that until then was a trademark of all Samurai film. This was obviously intended for a younger US- / European audience.
Lets just say that it's a so-so film for the average historic-action-adventure fan but a bore for hardened fans of Samurai cinema. Fans who are into the "Samurai meets "-genre, should rather go and watch Red Sun (1971), featuring Charles Bronson as cowboy who has to team up with Samurai Toshiro Mifume to retrieve a samurai sword from bad-guy Alan Delon. It pretty much how to do it right and where Kabuto went wrong.
So, even though the film is a mere 100 minutes, it seems like a much longer film.
The reason I gave this a honourable 4/10 points instead of 3/10: First time I saw this film, I saw it in the German synchronized version. In this version, Kosugi can actually be understood. I must admit that his 'Engrish' is at times funny but gets tiresome after about 30 minutes.
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