“Killing people is a bad habit.”
An older samurai (Toshiro Mifune) assists a group of naive young clansmen in rescuing a kidnapped political official.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Japanese Films
- Kurosawa Films
- Political Corruption
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, Kurosawa’s follow-up to Yojimbo (1961) isn’t quite as masterful or well-known as its predecessor (he argues it’s “not as ambitious… or as impressively photographed”), but still has much to recommend it. It’s “much funnier” and less cynical in its approach, and contains at least two valuable lessons: that violence should be avoided when possible, and that strength and cunning can come in unexpected packages. Mifune — portraying a “hero who does care about those who need help and is affected emotionally by what transpires around him” — is as compelling as always; he conveys more worldly wisdom in his right pinky than most other movie actors combined.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Beautiful imagery
- Plenty of unexpected humor (including Keiju Kobayashi as the captured spy who hides in the closet but pops out every now and then to express his opinion)
- Toshiro Mifune’s powerful yet subtly comedic performance
Yes. While not traditionally ranked among the top of Kurosawa’s oeuvre, it’s nonetheless critical viewing for any true film fanatic.