One of the most thrilling samurai epics, Sword of Doom
boasts unparalleled action and the impassioned performances of Tatsuya Nakadai (Ran
) and Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai
). The riveting story about a bloodthirsty samurai weighs the power of good against the forces of evil. The brilliantly choreographed duels rival the bloodbaths of Sam Peckinpah and John Woo.
Boasting some of the most impressive swordplay in the history of samurai epics, Sword of Doom
is a visceral masterpiece of violent style and powerful substance. Illustrating the timeless adage that "an evil soul wields an evil sword," this highly stylized classic is driven by the fierce and fearsome performance of Tatsuya Nakadai as Ryunosuke, a sociopathic samurai whose soul--and sword--are vicious instruments of evil. Having mastered a highly unconventional style of fencing, Ryunosuke welcomes an exhibition match at a fencing school run by master swordsman Shimada (Toshirô Mifune, in a small but pivotal role), where he kills his opponent after promising not to. Flagrantly violating all codes of honor, Ryunosuke eventually finds himself challenged from all sides; even his own henchmen rally against him, and director Kihachi Okamoto stages confrontations that are as beautiful as they are graphically violent. As Ryunosuke descends into pure, bloodthirsty insanity, Sword of Doom
ends with a freeze-frame that's unforgettably intense. --Jeff Shannon