In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
A wandering samurai, Sanjuro, is drawn into local politics. The Superintendent of a clan is plotting to take over the clan by implicating the Chamberlain in corrupt activities (activities the Superintendent is actually responsible for). Part of the plan involves killing off the Chamberlain's staff and, in protecting them, Sanjuro sides with them. The supporters are massively outnumbered so it will require all of Sanjuro's cunning and swordcraft to ensure the Superintendent does not succeed in his evil plan.Written by
Sanjuro is the sequel to Yojimbo (1961) and see's our unnamed ronin friend once again defending the innocent under the guise of his own desires.
Toshirô Mifune returns as the grumpy samurai and delivers a strong performance yet again. He is flanked by much of the same cast from the original movie, though they're all playing different characters (Which really damages the movies credibility).
This time he saves the lives of 9 men and joins them in saving one of their relatives. This time however it's more strategy and action than Yojimbos intricate mind games.
Truth be told Sanjuro is a weaker Toho movie than Yojimbo, it isn't as clever and certainly lacks the same level of charm. Regardless however it's a well constructed movie and Kurosawa has done a great job in it's creation.
Alike Yojimbo it sits within IMDB's top 250 movies, presently lower at 222. I don't agree that either of them should be in there, but then again very few should be in my eyes. Kurosawa's pinnacle was Seven Samurai (1954) and from what I've seen thus far I doubt it'll be beaten.
Very watchable Japanese samurai cinema, but hardly groundbreaking.
Has real charm
Sworddplay is still terrible
Inferior to Yojimbo
Things I Learnt From This Movie:
In fuedal Japan, barns were regular love nests
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