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 »
This is the third of 12 Nemuri Kyoshiro (Sleepy Eyes of Death) movies and they are great fun. Only 5 have been released on VHS or laser disk in the US. Once I watch one of them, I find myself going through the other 4 in rapid succession. Nemuri is a cynical ronin (masterless samurai) who disdains authority and the samurai code of honor. All the films follow the same formula: Nemuri is asked to carry out an honorable mission and refuses, professing to have no interest in anyone or anything. However, some event occurs that piques his interest and he does the right thing, motivated mostly by the antipathy he feels for the villains, who may be high government officials or venal merchants (usually both). The swordplay is generally swift and perfunctory. This is not Kurosawa or Kobayashi, but formula, "B" movies that grow on you with repeat watching. Full Circle Killing features a murderous mother who arranges the deaths of the Shogun's heirs in order to have her own son rise to that post. As usual, most of the characters turn out to be pawns manipulated by the higher authorities that Nemuri detests. Two of the series (Chinese Jade and Sword of Seduction) feature Tomisaburo Wakayama, the star of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, as Nemuri's nemesis, Sun Chen. Their interplay is highly entertaining. Although these are B movies, all are well done with good color photography, interesting and believable minor characters and cogent plots. Nemuri's character is the driving force, however, making the plots secondary, especially on repeat viewings, which the series merits. Recommended for chambara fans, especially lovers of Zatoichi and Lone Wolf and Cub.
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