HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
   
 
Newest Articles
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
   
 
  Shogun's Samurai Tough At The TopBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Sonny Chiba, Hiroki Matsukata, Teruhiko Saigô, Reiko Ôhara, Yoshio Harada, Etsuko Shihomi, Kentaro Kudo, Jirô Chiba, Hideo Murota, Mayumi Asano, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ichirô Nakatani, Tetsurô Tanba, Etsushi Takahashi, Toshirô Mifune
Genre: Drama, Action, Historical
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year is 1624, and in Japan a devastating civil war is finally over, though the Emperor has given up much of his power to the influential Shogun masters, one of whom has just died, leaving the ruler of his province in doubt. But when his tomb is raided and his stomach cut out and stolen, the truth is revealed: a test proves that the Shogun was poisoned, and it emerges the culprit behind that was his sword master Yagyu Tajima (Kinnosuke Nakamura) who has his own plans to instigate over who will take over...

This was, as its publicity trumpeted, the first period epic from Japanese studio Toei for twelve years, so they made a big deal of it, not least because popular director of yakuza flicks Kinji Fukasaku was at the helm, his first in the genre. Add to that a selection of star actors from that nation, including a few who might be recognisable to Western audiences, and a bunch of fight and battle sequences, and the stage was set for... a lot of standing around talking, in the main, for it became clear early on that while there was a nod to the violence all this intrigue erupted into, Fukasaku was more interested in the conspiracy angle.

This is set out in the opening stages, when the two brothers of the dead shogun are unwittingly pitted against each other as their camps draw up schemes to secure the top job for them. For Iemitsu (Hiroki Matsukata), he doesn't seem ready for such a position thanks to everyone regarding him as weak, a state of affairs which is depicted physically by his stammer and large birthmark. But Yagyu is his mentor, and sees in this man a chance to pull the strings in the nation if Iemitsu is his puppet, admitting to him that it was indeed he who killed his father, but for the older son's own good, deceitfully making it sound like a good idea.

The younger brother is Tadanaga (Teruhiko Saigô), a decent sort who remarks late on in the proceedings that he is having trouble telling the difference between good and evil in these confusing times, a point of view which you may well sympathise with. He finds himself having to draw his own allies around him as the threat of war hangs in the air, but by the end the problems that one power struggle have wrought seem insurmountable, with nobody truly the victor thanks to the chaos, the turning of men and women against one another, that has resulted. If this sounds bleak, then that's because it is.

For Western audiences, the most famous names here would be Sonny Chiba, who plays samurai Jubei, the son of Yagyu who eventually not only loses an eye but also pretty much everything dear to him, and Toshirô Mifune who played the fuedal Lord who is supposed to be in charge but quite plainly isn't. Neither of these stars has a huge role, although Mifune has less to do in spite of his standing, but Chiba reportedly regarded this as one of his finest works and when he's onscreen in this busy ensemble, he undoubtedly makes his mark, with or without the eyepatch. His protégé Hiroyuki Sanada also appeared, then only a teenager but doing enough to make himself a star, so Westerners may recognise him as well, having been in Ring, Speed Racer and the final season of Lost, among other things. But if the star spotting is beyond you, you still had to pay attention if you wanted to follow whose side everyone was on, and even then the point was their lust for power wreaked havoc. Music by Toshiaki Tsushima.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1861 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Kinji Fukasaku  (1930 - 2003)

Japanese director whose long career took in science fiction such as The Green Slime, Message From Space and Virus and gangster movies such as Yakuza Graveyard, Street Mobster and Graveyard of Honour. He also co-directed Tora! Tora! Tora! In 2000 scored a big international hit with the savage satire Battle Royale. Died whilst making a sequel, which was completed by his son Kenta.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: