|Index||4 reviews in total|
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.
This is the third entry in the published Sleepy Eyes of Death series
although there are a couple of Sleepy Eyes made in the 50's before The
Chinese Jade. A typical story in the series is a collage of sub plots
that involve Nemuri in one way or the other that get resolved
progressively until we arrive at the climax where he squares off with
the villain and his henchmen. Full Moon Cut involves a concubine of the
Shogun who schemes to have her son become the sole heir to the throne,
a poor commoner who wants revenge from said concubine's son for killing
his father to test his swords and a woman Nemuri becomes romantically
involved with until her husband returns from exile and is paid to kill
The assortment of motley characters that often populate this kind of pulpy b-movie chambara aid or oppose Nemuri depending on which side they find themselves in but it's not completely a case of good-evil here. An example is a poor, honest samurai that is challenges Nemuri to a duel. Nemuri also rapes his antagonist's wife and as Ichikawa isn't the rough hewn and big type like Mifune or Katsu, we get the impression that something other than brute force is at play, maybe some sort of evil, sly charm.
Even as he is confronted by the poor samurai that needs to kill him in order to pay back a debt of honour, a noble act in itself which partly confirms there's still hope for the samurai class, Nemuri doesn't stop his scathing attacks at the samurai principles he despises. This is not a "I will speak daggers... but use none" case though: the man is a hardass when it comes to using a sword and the movie ups the ante in terms of violence from the previous Sword of Adventure. There's a chopped head and limbs and a nice final fight on a burning bridge where Nemuri is framed by flames before he delivers the fatal blow, like some kind of sword devil (to use a Kenji Misumi title Ichikawa starred in one year later).
I find this episode better than the first.
More dark, more rebel. The ronin play by Raizo Ishikawa meet some truly bad people. The villains are so greedy and ambitious who just want them dead, but they are so human.
Remember, we are in the sixties. At this time, contestation was in many movies. This one are very sarcastic. Good swordfight scenes.
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.
|Ratings||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|