Nemuri Kyoshiro, a youthful and cynical ronin with unparalleled skill, is approached by both sides in a game of corruption, ambition, and double crosses. The leader of the Kaga clan, who ... See full summary »
Two devious retainers are competing to take control of a fief when the current Lord dies, but involving Kyoshiro in the conflict against his will is the textbook example of a bad idea - ... See full summary »
A very good film, but one with a very disturbing message...
Raizô Ichikawa returns as the ronin (master-less samurai) Nemuri Kyoshiro in this third installment in the series. In most ways, the film is a major improvement over the first film (which tended to be more talky and cerebral). The story is pretty exciting and the swordplay exceptional. I also liked the story that seemed possibly inspired by "Macbeth"--as evil women use their sons for their own power and glory. In particular, a terribly obnoxious young man is primed to become the next shogun by arranging "accidents" for all the other possible candidates. To make things worse, this son is amazingly vain and believes he is an amazing warrior--when he is really not much more than a maggot waiting to be stomped on by Kyoshiro. Ultimately, there are no surprises as to what happens, but in such series films what you expect MUST happen--it's all part of the formula that make samurai series (such as Zatoichi or Lone Wolf and Cub) what they are--relatively mindless fun.
Unfortunately, despite being a very good film, I am amazed that none of the other reviewers noticed or cared about one glaring problem with this film. Late in the film, Kyoshiro rapes a woman in order to "teach her a lesson". While this has been a relatively common myth in Japanese culture, the idea that a hero needs to rape a woman because she deserves it is just sick--and ruins an otherwise wonderful film. And, in accordance with the myth, the woman grows to love the rapist!! I have seen films from the Hanzo the Razor series (where the cop, played by Shintaro Katsu "interrogates" female suspects by raping them) and I know that there is at least on manga series where the "rape man" dispenses justice by raping women who "need their comeuppance". Surely, however, by the 21st century we are better than this and I hope that no one actually takes this insane idea to heart.
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