The way of the Samurai
Akira Kurasawa's "Yojimbo" is one of the best action films ever made. "Yojimbo" is about a lone masterless samurai mercenary, Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune), whom walks into a town filled with corruption and violence, as two rival gangs battle for control of the city. After a brief show of his skills, Sanjuro offers his help to the highest bidder, and basically toying with them to get the best deal. However, his real scheme is to try to trick both sides, so they can wipe each other out. Unfortunately, Sanjuro's plans change as he also has to face another cunning mercenary, Unosuke (Tatsuya Nakadai), whom carries a modern weapon to take out his opponents; a gun. Faced with impossible odds in numbers and advanced weaponry, Sanjuro displays lightning quick moves if the audience were to blink, then they would miss the entire thing. Unlike Kurasawa's other films, which tell a deep story about the darkness of human nature with sentimental ties to humanity such as "Rashomon" and "Ran." Akira tries a different aproach with this one using a solid western theme feel to the movie which works rather well. As for Mifune, his character, Sanjuro, is a man of very little words, but Mifune uses his presence to establish the character. Indeed, Mifune's performance throughout the entire film was stoic and hard core. Using great epic battle scenes that'll leave viewers breathless. "Yojimbo" is one of the greatest action films ever conceived.
Using great action choreography, that move so fast that audiences will have to see it to believe it. In one scene, people will be on the edge of their seat when Sanjuro has the epic showdown, at the end of the film, facing an entire clan of mercenaries alone, including the infamous Unosuke and his gun.
Even the dark humor in the film seems great. Heck, I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard watching an action flick. Audiences will be bursting with laughter when they see Sanjuro trick a fat guy into carrying him into a cemetery, or when they see how Sanjuro toys with each of the clan leaders over his price.
Mifune was just born for this role. Having been a star in many of Kurasawa's other films, Mifune carries a solid stoic prensence that sticks with us after seeing the movie. Unlike some of our other heroic actors, in America, that tend to rely on presence in action films such as Vin Diesel or Sylvester Stallone, Mifune actually masters it to perfection in "Yojimbo."
As for Kurasawa, this film only goes to prove how great of a director he was. Being able to direct some of cinema's most powerful epic films like "Rashomon", "Ran", and others. Yet, still being able to direct a humorous action flick like "Yojimbo" just goes to prove how versatile he was as a director. I mean how many other directors can just switch genres and still have a mastery for telling a great story. Indeed, this is one of the many reasons why Kurasawa is one of cinema's greatest directors of all time.
I simply loved this film. Mifune was just great as the anti-heroic samurai that holds no loyalty to anyone but to his own survival, while Akira does a masterful job on this film, by displaying versatility many of Hollywood's directors today couldn't replicate. "Yojimbo" is in a class on its' own.
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