6.8/10
412
8 user 12 critic

Rônin-gai (1990)

A group of masterless samurai living in Edo's red light district must fend off a militia bent on wiping out local prostitutes.

Writers:

(story), (screenplay)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Masayo Banri, Ryûzô Shimada
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Kanichiro Yoshimura is a Samurai and Family man who can no longer support his wife and children on the the low pay he receives from his small town clan, he is forced by the love for his ... See full summary »

Director: Yôjirô Takita
Stars: Kiichi Nakai, Kôichi Satô, Yui Natsukawa
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 16th century Japan, two samurai engage in massive battles across the countryside; one attempting to conquer and the other attempting to defend his land while repressing his love for a woman after taking a vow of celibacy.

Director: Haruki Kadokawa
Stars: Takaaki Enoki, Masahiko Tsugawa, Atsuko Asano
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Raizo), a talented young ninja, becomes ensnared in a twisted scheme to assassinate Oda Nobunaga, an evil warlord bent on ruling feudal Japan with an iron fist. ... See full summary »

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shiho Fujimura, Yûnosuke Itô
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After killing a counselor of his clan, a fugitive samurai befriends a couple poaching the shogun's gold in the mountains.

Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Mikijirô Hira, Gô Katô, Shima Iwashita
Chûshingura (1962)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After their lord is tricked into committing ritual suicide, forty-seven samurai warriors await the chance to avenge their master and reclaim their honor.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
Stars: Yûzô Kayama, Chûsha Ichikawa, Tatsuya Mihashi
Goyôkin (1969)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A guilt-haunted samurai warrior attempts to stop a massacre taking place.

Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tetsurô Tamba, Yôko Tsukasa
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the currency devaluation by the Edo treasury, officer Hanzo deals with a temple priestess who sells her pupils as prostitutes, and a notorious thief who plans to rob the mint.

Director: Yasuzô Masumura
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Keiko Aikawa, Kazuko Inano
Hitokiri (1969)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A destitute ronin allies himself with an established clan, but its ruthless leader tries to turn him into a mindless killer.

Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yukio Mishima
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After extracting information by raping a ghost, Hanzo uncovers a plot among high officials to steal the shogunate's gold and loan it out to the poor.

Director: Yoshio Inoue
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kô Nishimura, Mako Midori
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

During the time of change of the mid-19th Century, Yaichiro is bid farewell by his fellow samurai friends Munezo and Samon as he leaves their clan's fiefdom on the northwest coast of Japan ... See full summary »

Director: Yôji Yamada
Stars: Masatoshi Nagase, Takako Matsu, Hidetaka Yoshioka
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kanako Higuchi ...
Oshin
Renji Ishibashi ...
Kaoru Sugita ...
Obun
Hiroko Isayama ...
Oyô
Takuya Fujisaki ...
Sakichi
Moeko Ezawa ...
Otoku
Tatsu Nakamura ...
Onaka
Manko Kurenai ...
Yukie Kagawa ...
Otsuya
Fumiaki Tonamiyama ...
Dendayû Obata
Takashi Tsumura ...
Constable Kashiwagi
Takuji Aoki ...
Kenzô Umataka
Hideyo Amamoto ...
Monk with biwa
Mami Kaneko ...
Oraku
Edit

Storyline

A group of masterless samurai living in Edo's red light district must fend off a militia bent on wiping out local prostitutes.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 August 1990 (Japan)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Produced in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the death of Shôzô Makino, the father of Japanese cinema. See more »

Connections

Version of Rônin-gai - Dai-ichi-wa: Utsukushiki emono (1928) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Slow burner, but delivers a worthy pay-off with patience
18 August 2005 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

RONIN GAI, or "Masterless Samurai Street" if you prefer, can be seen as a precursor to films like TWILIGHT SAMURAI which focus on the tragic aspect of the samurai at the end of the era where they were the big shots. The film focuses on a small community of outcasts - former Samurai who are doing various menial jobs to earn their living (or just not) and prostitutes for the most part. They're a damaged bunch of people, and the men in particular are not very nice. Their lives are hardly peaceful and orderly to start off with, but they're messed up further when prostitutes start turning up dead - killed by a fairly expert sword, apparently.

RONIN GAI is a character-driven film, certainly not a murder mystery or any such thing, but a study of a group of people whose world no longer has a place for them. It's not a romantic or sympathetic view of the people, and for quite a while I was quite turned off by the film because I didn't actually like any of the main characters - then I realised that I wasn't really supposed to and stopped viewing it as a flaw or mistake, and enjoyed the rest of it a lot more.

Even though the film does contain some pretty gory violence, and a bit of very tame sex, it is still quite slow-paced and sedate. It deals with some pretty ugly people and situations, and can't be considered a cheerful or pleasant film, but it never uses the nastiness or violence in an "exploitation" style... it does actually want us to care for the characters, but isn't going to paint over their flaws to win us over. The fact we do care for them is a tribute to the strength of the writing and especially the acting, which is fantastic. Special mention must go to Shintaro Katsu in this regard, who gives a wonderful performance in what would turn out to be his final film.

The film is quite nicely shot, but has a bit of a "made for TV" feel to it that I couldn't really explain. It doesn't look low-budget, it's shot on film, and it's got lovely sets and costumes and whatnot... but still feels a bit TV movie-ish. Perhaps it's because it's only 16:9 widescreen, and I'm used to seeing Samurai films at full scope ratio? Or it might have been the sound design and music, which seemed a bit too modern for the period setting.

It definitely took a while for RONIN GAI to win me over, because it builds its characters and its world slowly and delicately, with subtle details and touches. It wasn't the film I was expecting it to be (whatever that was), so perhaps it was a while before I adjusted my critical gaze to look at its actual strengths rather than the strengths I'd expected to find. At some point in the film I realised I was liking it quite a lot though, and by the end it was a very satisfying experience.

8/10


23 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?