Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yojimbo and Sanjuro

I watched these two Kurosawa movies this past weekend. They were recommended to me and I found them at the Little Tokyo library in downtown Los Angeles. Both of them were very entertaining samurai movies from Akira Kurosawa.



Yojimbo is from 1961 and is about a masterless samurai (Ronin) who works to rid a village of two corrupt samurai clans. Yojimbo means bodyguard in Japanese. The ronin, played by the great actor Toshiro Mifune, plays the two clans against each other to his own advantage. He does this by displaying is incredible sword skills and then offering to be their bodyguard.

This film was remade in America as A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing. This was a great film and it also had me laughing many times. It is a humorous film but also vey intense and violent. I knew it would be interesting when in one of the early scenes, the ronin enters the village and a stray dog walks by carrying a severed hand.





Sanjuro is a companion film to Yojimbo from 1962. Mifune again plays the ronin and he helps a group of young and idealistic samurai weed out their clans evil influences. Sanjuro is the name of Mifune's character. I liked this film even more than Yojimbo. It was less humorous but more intense. The final sword fight scene was shocking. All I will say about this last scene is that as soon as I saw it I said "holy crap."

I recommend both of these films very highly. If you want to see some incredible and classic Japanese samurai films, watch these two or any of the other Kurosawa films.

10 comments:

  1. I bought Yojimbo one time, and enjoyed it. The humor didn't click with me all that much, but I liked the main character, and the way he'd swagger down the street. Yes, I remember the dog too. ;)

    Great movie. I'll check out Sanjuro.

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  2. The humor is Yojimbo was more like goofy humor. I like Sanjuro better.

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  3. Anonymous6:34 AM

    If you are interested in watching more Japanese films, Netflix has a large number of them. We have rented most of ours from there.

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  4. Thanks. I'll think about that.

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  5. Both absolute classics. I watched Yojimbo and then Fistful of Dollars back-to-back once, and it really brought out a lot of hidden details in both films.

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  6. I agree. I look forward to seeing some more Kurosawa films.

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  7. Tornado: I'll definitely check out Sanjuro. Need a new jidai-eki (historical drama) to watch anyways. ;)

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  8. I think you will like it.

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  9. I wonder if I will be able to find these...I want to watch them too

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  10. Jamaipanese, I could not find these at the Blockbuster video stores near my house. They have some Kurosawa movies but not many. But then I remembered that the Los Angeles Library has movies so I went to the Little Tokyo branch and they had a good selection. Probably little chance that a Jamaican library will have any though. Someone said that Netflix has these movies and many more. Do you get Netflix your something similar in Jamaica?

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