Two sisters, one a dancer and the other a script supervisor at a big movie studio, become embroiled in union activities when a strike is called in sympathy with striking railroad workers, ... See full summary »
In this government-suggested sequel, Sugata again grows as a judo master, and demonstrates his (and by extension, all Japanese) superiority to the foreign warrior.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Due to its anti-American content, this film was never released in the US. Released in late 1945, in the early days of the American occupation of Japan, the movie has a strong anti-American slant. One of the two parallel plots of the film involves the young judo hero, Chee, and his battle to preserve the sanctity of the Japanese arts against the encroaching, brutish influence of American boxing. Americans are portrayed as a bunch of creeps. Eventually, Chee vanquishes the American champion to the wild cheers of his countrymen. This is by far the most interesting material in the film.
The judo vs boxing plot runs alongside a more pedestrian story: Chee is challenged by the brother of the karate master he vanquished at the finale of the original film. This story is a virtual carbon copy of the original, but with few of the original's charming nuances. The climactic final battle -- which takes place on a snow-covered moutainside -- is a pale imitation of the original's finale, which took place in a field of high grass.
The film also suffers from some of the same choppiness and fuzziness of narrative line that affected the original film, and a few other of Kurosawa's early works. Still, it's an entertaining effort. And it's remarkable as one of only two sequels Kurosawa ever filmed (the other being SANJURO, his follow-up to YOJIMBO). It appears Kurosawa learned from the experience of making SSP2 -- SANJURO is much more different from YOJIMBO than SSP2 is from its original, and a far more effective film than SSP2.
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