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Sanjuro [Blu-ray]

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Yûji Oda, Makoto Fujita, Shin'yû Fujiwara, Tsuyoshi Hayashi, Ichitaro
  • Directors: Yoshimitsu Morita
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Ryûzô Kikushima, Shûgorô Yamamoto
  • Producers: Akihiko Ôsugi, Haruki Kadokawa, Hiroshi Hayakawa
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: March 23 2010
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00319HT9M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,955 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

SANJURO (BLU RAY) JAPANIMATION

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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 16 2010
Format: Blu-ray
He's a nameless, grizzled man who wanders through 1800s Japan. Think Clint Eastwood with a topknot.

And the sequel to Akira Kurosawa's classic "Yojimbo" is very different in tone -- rather than a straightforward grizzled-anti-hero-cleans-up-the-town tale, it's a comic story about the unnamed hero getting stuck on a ship of fools, and having to unravel a small-time political conspiracy. While it's Kurosawa's lightest samurai movie, it's still a solid action/drama flick with plenty of comedy sprinkled in.

A gang of idealistic young nobles are gathered in a decaying house, talking about how they are trying to battle local corruption. Suddenly a scruffy warrior (Toshirô Mifune) who calls himself Sanjûrô Tsubaki (basic translation -- 30-year-old camellia... going on forty), appears and tells them who is lying and who isn't -- and that after confiding in the treacherous superintendant, they're being set up for an ambush.

After he saves their butts and drags the none-too-bright young men into hiding, he begins concocting a plan to save one young man's uncle, who is being held as a political hostage. After rescuing the lord's wife and daughter, Sanjuro and his band of fools continue with their plots to save him from the evil superintendant -- and he teaches his bumbling co-conspirators that exalted social position isn't what keeps you alive...

Kurosawa isn't known for having made goofball comedies -- he tended more towards action and tragedy -- but there's a definite comic flair to "Sanjuro," from the pampered prisoner offering nuggets of wisdom ("Get back in the closet!" one of his captors yells) to the silent "happy dance" that all the young noblemen do.
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Format: Blu-ray
This movie makes more sense if you have already watched Yojimbo because Sanjuro is a worthy follow-up to Yojimbo. Mifune is a drifter samurai who stumbles into yet another village that he can exploit. His task is made easier by the infighting between the rival groups in the village. A well-directed and well-acted movie that continues the hit streak of its director Kurosawa and lead actor Mifune. One of the classics.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c2ebbd0) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c323768) out of 5 stars Another Kurosawa gem Nov. 23 2007
By Eugenia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
An absolutely delightful film about samurai's fight for honor. It is smart and funny. We learn about a group of young samurai who want to stop corruption in their clan. In preparation for their uprising they run into an outcast, seemingly unkept and not very polite samurai. For exchange of food, saki and a little bit of money, he offers this group of rebels his warrior help. While this group of young rebels has a fire in their belly to fight for the right cause, they are not particularly smart. It is really funny when in one moment our main character says to one of them: "Are you born in the year of Ox?" trying to depict young man's not so bright standing. We see japanese style sword fighing, but also battle of the wits. Film will keep you entertained to the end with its humor and humility. I absolutely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys foreign movies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c323b70) out of 5 stars Finely crafted sequel to "Yojimbo" Feb. 20 2007
By David Bonesteel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
A group of eager, chivalrous, but young and inexperienced samurai find themselves marked for death by corrupt officials, but they are fortunate to make the acquaintance of Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune), the masterless samurai whose sense of honor and decency is masked by a gruff, sarcastic exterior. This film is played more for laughs than the previous "Yojimbo," but director Akira Kurosawa doesn't stint on the swordplay and suspense. Mifune is wonderful as always. Despite the comedy, the film's stunning finale makes quite a sobering and penetrating comment on the character of a man like Sanjuro.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By John Farr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Sanjuro" may not match its predecessor in sheer virtuosity, but it's actually more fun, thanks to Mifune's comic scenery-chewing, and the innately humorous contrast between the clean, proper youths and their unlikely, unkempt protector. Sanjuro's savvy counsel to the virtuous but impulsive youths ("Things are not always what they seem") gets repeated and borne out through various developments which eventually help restore justice to the land. Bottom-line: In this entry, Mifune himself really warms to "Sanjuro," and as a result, so do we.
HASH(0x9c323990) out of 5 stars Great but odd sequel to the classic Yojimbo Jan. 31 2007
By Peter J. Ward - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Yojimbo (The Bodyguard) is a samurai movie based in the detective novels of Dashiell Hammett - particularly Red Harvest. Akira Kurosawa wanted to bring the best of literature and interpret it into Japanese cinema. Its interesting that the two main influences in this process were Hammett's hard-boiled detective fiction and William Shakespeare (Ran, Throne of Blood). The sequel, Sanjuro, is a departure of sorts from Yojimbo. Kurosawa and Mifune return as we find our nameless hero assisting some naive samurai who have been backed into a corner by corrupt officials in their clan. Played more for laughs but still brimming with cynicism and wonderfully orchestrated fights (the final scene will leave you afraid to blink), Sanjuro is a worthy but unusual follow-up to the cynical Yojimbo.

Criterion did an excellent job with their recent re-release of Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, and it appears that they are giving the same treatment to both Yojimbo & Sanjuro. A new (and improved) translation, commentary from Steven Price, as well as documentary film focusing on Kurosawa during the time he was making these great movies. This review is modified from my review of the Yojimbo/Sanjuro double DVD pack, each movie is great, but I'd recommend picking up both.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c3270cc) out of 5 stars 30-year-old camellia Dec 22 2009
By EA Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
He's a nameless, grizzled man who wanders through 1800s Japan. Think Clint Eastwood with a topknot.

And the sequel to Akira Kurosawa's classic "Yojimbo" is very different in tone -- rather than a straightforward grizzled-anti-hero-cleans-up-the-town tale, it's a comic story about the unnamed hero getting stuck on a ship of fools, and having to unravel a small-time political conspiracy. While it's Kurosawa's lightest samurai movie, it's still a solid action/drama flick with plenty of comedy sprinkled in.

A gang of idealistic young nobles are gathered in a decaying house, talking about how they are trying to battle local corruption. Suddenly a scruffy warrior (Toshirô Mifune) who calls himself Sanjûrô Tsubaki (basic translation -- 30-year-old camellia... going on forty), appears and tells them who is lying and who isn't -- and that after confiding in the treacherous superintendant, they're being set up for an ambush.

After he saves their butts and drags the none-too-bright young men into hiding, he begins concocting a plan to save one young man's uncle, who is being held as a political hostage. After rescuing the lord's wife and daughter, Sanjuro and his band of fools continue with their plots to save him from the evil superintendant -- and he teaches his bumbling co-conspirators that exalted social position isn't what keeps you alive...

Kurosawa isn't known for having made goofball comedies -- he tended more towards action and tragedy -- but there's a definite comic flair to "Sanjuro," from the pampered prisoner offering nuggets of wisdom ("Get back in the closet!" one of his captors yells) to the silent "happy dance" that all the young noblemen do. At the same time, there's a poignant note to Sanjuro's regrets about the men he's killed -- including men much like himself.

Even steeped in comedy, Kurosawa's knack for action and vibrant creativity is still intact -- to give the feel that people are running, he shows short, rapid shots of several young men running down different streets. Every action scene is a pared-down, sharp-edged affair, and he juggles the complex plot threads easily. There are a few flaws (a lot of people get cut down without a speck of blood) but these are just minor quirks. And the finale is a shatteringly brutal scene, reminiscent of a western shoot-out, where you almost expect Sanjuro to put on a white cowboy hat and spit.

Mifune is wonderful as the grubby, grumpy samurai who is like an "unsheathed blade," and who has more brains than his little gang. He gives the character a lazy, languid air, sort of like an unexploded land mine. His followers are well-acted, though they don't have much individual personality -- think the best buddies of Bertie Wooster, except with topknots and katanas. And small supporting roles -- like the kindly, prim noblewoman and the friendly prisoner in his little closet -- are very well-drawn.

As for the Criterion blu-ray edition, it has pretty much the same extras as the original DVD edition: improved subtitling, a behind-the-scenes stills gallery, theatrical trailer and teaser, an audio commentary track by a Kurosawa scholar named Stephen Prince, and a half-hour excerpt from "Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create" about "Sanjuro."

Lurking under the comic flourishes is an intelligent film with likable characters, solid writing, and plenty of action. "Sanjuro" is as good as the film before it, though in a slightly different way.


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