In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Sanjuro, a wandering samurai enters a rural town in nineteenth century Japan. After learning from the innkeeper that the town is divided between two gangsters, he plays one side off against the other. His efforts are complicated by the arrival of the wily Unosuke, the son of one of the gangsters, who owns a revolver. Unosuke has Sanjuro beaten after he reunites an abducted woman with her husband and son, then massacres his father's opponents. During the slaughter, the samurai escapes with the help of the innkeeper; but while recuperating at a nearby temple, he learns of innkeeper's abduction by Unosuke, and returns to the town to confront him. Written by
Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>
For sheer entertainment value 'Yojimbo' is hard to beat! The Kurosawa movie I enjoy the most.
I'm not going to waste time debating which was the "greatest" or "best" of Kurosawa's movies, but if you want to know the one I enjoy the most it's 'Yojimbo'. 'Rashomon' and 'Throne Of Blood' are probably deeper and more substantial, but for sheer entertainment value 'Yojimbo' is hard to beat! Being a Kurosawa movie it's no surprise that it stars Toshiro Mifune. The two made many movies together, but this is the performance I like to watch the most. I love looking at Mifune's face! His expressions are awesome. He was without a doubt one of the 20th centuries greatest movie stars. 'Yojimbo' was a massive influence on many spaghetti westerns, specifically 'A Fistful Of Dollars', but before you bay for Sergio Leone's blood, please read Dashiell Hammett's detective classic 'Red Harvest', published in 1929 and you'll see that Kurosawa lifted his plot from it. I see no mention whatsoever of this source material in the credits for 'Yojimbo', so let's just leave the Leone bashing alone okay? Many people have convincingly argued that samurai movies were inspired by classic American westerns anyway. Walter Hill later "remade" 'Yojimbo' (or 'Red Harvest' depending on your perspective) as 'Last Man Standing' and David Lynch gave a small nod to it in his 'Wild At Heart'. You can certainly see both the samurai and spaghetti influences in Tarantino's 'Kill Bill' 1 and 2, that's for sure. "Influences", "inspirations", these are things that go around and around, it's what a writer or film maker does with them that counts. 'Yojimbo' is a classic action movie. Maybe only 'Wages Of Fear' is better. Every film buff needs this movie in their collection!
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