Sunday, September 12, 2010

SANJURO (1962) - Akira Kurosawa

Honestly, is there any other leading man in the history of cinema better at scratching themselves idly beneath their kimono than Toshiro Mifune? Humphrey Bogart is great, and Bruce Willis is very fine at times, but no one does simultaneously disinterested and calculating better than this man.

Sanjuro is the sequel to Yojimbo and pretty much follows the same plot trajectory, except this time Mifune is itching and manipulating his way through a war between two rival factions in a house of fellow samurai rather than two rival gangs. I haven't seen the original Yojimbo in a long time, but, from what I recall, Sanjuro is just as good. Perhaps Sanjuro's even a bit more sentimental in that, this time, Mifune has less to gain monetarily yet helps his bumbling ronin brethren. Is this a full-blown conscience the opportunistic samurai is developing or just kimono rash? Regrettably, Kurosawa never made it to a trilogy. I guess we'll never know.

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