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Sanjuro [Blu-ray]

Yji Oda , Makoto Fujita , Yoshimitsu Morita    Unrated   Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 30-year-old camellia May 16 2010
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 (Toshir Mifune) who calls himself Sanjr 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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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING Oct. 7 2011
By Claymation - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This movie speaks for itself. It's pure cinematic artistry from Akira Kurusawa himself. This movie is gorgeous. It's the best looking black & White film I have ever seen. The plot is very interesting & quite humorous despite the characters being faced with death at every turn. GREAT cinematography. When you observe what Kurusawa was able to do back in 60's without modern tech, it really puts most modern directors to shame. Toshiro Mifune is an extraordinarily well rounded actor, and this is my favorite roll of his that I've seen so far. Brilliant.
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanjuurou (Blu-ray) April 2 2010
By Tony Khamvongsouk - Published on Amazon.com
Movie - 4.5

Alright, my third Kurosawa film! Here we have the continuing adventures of Sanjuurou in the self-titled movie, which amply reflects a good majority of the elements that made Youjimbou so successful. We're essentially presented with the same mix of comedy and drama (albeit, of a lighter nature), tantalizing swordplay (much bloodier), and a still very appealing protagonist, though not quite to the magnitude of its predecessor. However, what Sanjuurou lacks in overall bravado, it makes up for in some great character development and complexity. After listening to the very insightful commentary, I found that a lot of the elements in this movie helped to fill some of the character gaps and actually compliment Sanjuurou to make him a more complete person. Furthermore, the screenplay also differentiates itself from the previous film with the whole "unsheathed sword" analogy and its message on the brutality of violence, as opposed to its necessity in the former, and its focus on traditionalism, as opposed to Youjimbou's take on modernism. Instead of glorifying the bloodshed we were led to believe as a necessary, almost obligatory, catalyst for change in the first film, we learn here that even if killing is required, living with it is the hardest part of all. We're also exposed to the softer side of Sanjuurou here, as seen in his interactions with the rebel samurai. His brash and eccentric nature has always been a part of his charisma, though we get to see him display a little more compassion, maybe even a kind of paternal instinct for those young men. This complimentary piece to the tale of Sanjuurou is much more light-hearted, but at the same time adds a more intimate and subtle look to the man.

Video - 4.5

The video isn't quite as striking as it is for Youjimbou, but Sanjuurou still looks relatively good. Contrast, black levels, and overall sharpness show about the same level of excellence as its predecessor, though it does have a few moments of inconsistency. Images appear fuzzy, contrast or blacks are too high/low, and some shots even show instances of film damage, but only on occasion. Facial features and object detail still look amazing for a movie filmed in b&w, and I was particularly surprised at some of the shadow delineation in some of the night scenes.

Audio - 4.5

While the video transfer isn't as good, the audio is. The 3.0 DTS-HD track offers a clear and presentable effort with no loss of quality in the dialogue, music, or sound effects. Ambiance is as good as its predecessor with center and front side speakers engaging in their respective elements. Of special note, there are more instances of sword slash and flesh-cut noises as opposed to the wind effects and emphasis of the score in the previous film. The running water sounds also create a pretty pleasant atmosphere.

Extras - 4.0

More of the same as in Youjimbou: 35-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, a very in-depth commentary by Stephen Price, and a nifty little book with essays about Kurosawa and his work. I actually found the b-t-s feature a little less interesting than Youjimbou's. It tends to focus more on the writing/acting aspects and effects departments, but not so much on the filming process itself. Some of the cinematography was cool to look at, and it would've been nice to hear about the shooting locations as well. However, the commentary makes up for it a good deal, showing that Mr. Price, yet again, really knows his stuff.

Overall - 4.5

Sanjuurou is a great complimentary piece to Kurosawa's Youjimbou. It's not really a "sequel" in the structural sense, but more so a spiritual one. We get to see more of what makes him the man, as well as getting a few life lessons from his words and actions. While it's probably not quite as captivating as its first incarnation, this makes a fine addition to any Kurosawa or samurai fan's collection. Highly recommended.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars sequel that detracts more than adds March 23 2014
By Robert J. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Yojimbo is one of my favorite films. It has a great character at the center, who wades into a faction-ridden city and plays them off of one another, at one point falling into their hands and barely escaping with his life in so much pain he has to crawl out. He is alone, yet acts like a general, manipulating people in a very dangerous game. By contrast, in Sanjuro, he acts more like a disinterested chess player, dispensing sage advice, sitting back to watch the fireworks, improvising quickly but never really in much danger, even his confinement is lackadaisical and without dramatic tension. The character is consistent, but nothing much of interest - aside perhaps from the theme of "keeping the sword sheathed" - is added. Even the milieu he chooses to fight in, a power grab of aristocratic factions is less fun than the warring town bosses in Yojimbo, particularly in view that those he chooses to champion in Sanjuro are pampered twits who keep throwing his plans off track if they do anything on their own initiative. In Sanjuro, he never loses his cool, but maintains a strict control over everything, with little human seeming to peep out.

I hate to say it, but I don't think Kurosawa had anything much to say in this film. I would recommend renting it, given the inflated price, and that only for aficionados, not the general viewer.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An very entertaining film! Jan. 18 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I love all the works of Akira Kurosawa and his collaboration with Toshiro Mifune. I have always found
this movie to be fun to watch. The acting is great and their are some funny lines throughout. A most
entertaining film.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sanjuro the third son June 8 2012
By old squid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Even the title is interesting, ichro is the first son and inherits all the property, nichro is the second son and normally helps his older brother manage the property, and sanjuro the third son is hung out to dry. In the movie the title character is wonderfully acted and the mixture of comedy and drama is well done. Sanjuro is very real and plot twists are very good indeed. The head of the village who is saved is a wonderful surprise and last scene is incredible. One of my all time Japanese movie favorates and having spent six years in Japan I have seen a few. Get it.
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