Samurai movie recommendations?

Discussion in 'Asian General Cinema' started by Alex Apple, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. Alex Apple Lord Snowblood Apple

    OK, so watching ghevans's samurai movie tonight has got me in the mood, and I'll confess it's one of those genres I know nothing about.

    So, who can recommend a good samurai movie?

    (showing my weaknesses again, is this the genre which Akira Kurosawa has a lot to do with?)
  2. Indeed Akira Kurosawa has done some outstanding work in the field, also worth noting Lone Wolf and Cub series as well. One of my guailty pleasure has been Hunted, The (1995) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113360/ staring Christopher Lambert (I catch it on C4 one night a few years back, was impress by it greatly hehe)

    Also this nice horror short collection call Kaidan (1964) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058279/ (it has samurai in it hehe)

    I suppose you have seen that Ghetto as well :)
  3. DrCraze Guest

    Samurai Fiction arrived not too long ago... I'll watch it soon & give the low-down :D ..It's supposed to be a humerous depiction of old Akira-type samurai classics.
  4. Akitsu Guest

    Yeah, Akira Kurosawa made quite a lot of samurai movies, most notably 'Seven Samurai'. If u r after something more... recent... try 'Twilight Samurai' (starring Ring/Rasen's Hiroyuki Sanada) if u can find it!
  5. Judge Rage Youth of the Beast

    The king of kings is Seven Samurai,

    I also love Hidden Fortress.

    The Zatoichi series is great, too.

    The Samurai Trilogy is also great.

    Happy hunting.
  6. Chryse Guest

    A couple of other great Kurosawa samurai films not yet mentioned:

    Yojimbo (1961) (remade as A Fistful of Dollars), and its more comedic sequel, Sanjuro (1962). (Toshiro Mifune reprised the role in one of the Zatoichi films as well.)

    And while I usually don't think of them as samurai films per se, there's also his later films, Kagemusha (1980) and Ran (1985). (They're entirely different sorts of films - tragedies more than anything else.)

    Haven't seen Samurai Fiction yet, but a friend said it was great.

    There's the Samurai Cellular segment of Tales of the Unusual.

    There's also the Samurai/Musashi Miyamoto trilogy (1954-56), from Hiroshi Inagaki and starring Mifune.

    And there's god knows how many versions of the Chushingura story, including Inagaki's version (1962), again with Mifune, and Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin (1941).

    And of course, Kitano's restarting the Zatoichi series.

    And you might want to take a gander at Hong Kong as well - not for samurai films, of course, but for some great wuxia pian (films of martial chivalry) like:

    King Hu's Come Drink with Me (1966)
    Touch of Zen (1969) (King Hu again) and
    The Blade (1995) (not to be confused with the Wesley Snipes series), Tsui Hark's update of One-Armed Swordsman (1967). The Blade is, on the big screen at least, hands down and without the slightest hint of hyperbole the single most physically visceral action movie I have ever seen.
  7. Ganbachi Contemporary Caveman

    Don't forget the Babycart films. I love 'em and Samura Fiction is a great film as well. I hope to invest in some Zatoichi films but there's 26 of those :?
  8. Midori no Saru Invoker of Azarak

    I can't recommend Ran enough. Incredibly beautiful, with a couple of shocking but visually spectacular moments, like the death of Lady Kaede, where a paper screen is Pollocked with blood...

    When I first saw Ran on the big screen, I was so gobsmacked by the beauty of it... it was the film that introduced me to Japanese cinema.

    I am told that there are two genres of Samurai film: Jidai Geki and Chanbara, though I haven't yet worked out the exact difference between the two.
  9. Judge Rage Youth of the Beast

    jidai geki implies simply an story from a past age, where I think chanbara is exclusively samurai films. Many, if not most jidai geki are samurai films, but not all, I suppose.
  10. Chryse Guest

    The two "mega-genres" of Japanese film are the jidaigeki and the gendaigeki.

    Jidaigeki are, as Judge Rage said, historical films set pre-20th century, (or more typically, no later than 1868, the end of the Tokugawa period). Chambara, swordplay films, typically fit in here, (though chambara can refer to plays as well, I believe). Gendaigeki, by contrast, are films about contemporary life.

    (Trivia: George Lucas derived the word "Jedi" from jidaigeki.)
  11. Midori no Saru Invoker of Azarak

    Thans for your comments on Jidai Geki folks. A look at the dictionary shows that Jidai Geki is literally "period drama" and chanbara is sword fighting. So I guess chanbara is a sort of sub-set of Jidai Geki.

    Hmmm. Jedi Knights are therefore "period knights." They don't sound so tough now, do they? :lol:
  12. coffeeandtv Guest

    I definitely have to join the chorus regarding Kurosawa. He's the master for a reason, especially his films with Toshiro Mifune. Throne of Blood is a personal favorite of mine, a samurai-ized version of Macbeth with Mifune in the title role. And you can't go wrong with Seven Samurai, it's a great introduction to both the director and the genre.

    (Hello, btw, I'm a first time poster. Love the site and the forums!)
  13. Vertigo Guest

    I totally agree with you, esp on Throne of Blood.

    thanks for the input and welcome to the forum. :lol:
  14. Mandi Apple The Acid Queen

    Welcome to the forums coffeeandtv, and glad you like the site too :D
  15. Judge Rage Youth of the Beast

    Just rented Throne of Blood (Criterion Collection) today, but am gussing I will probably pick it up permanently eventually. The Kurosawa Criterion releases are second to none in quality and extras. The Seven Samurai release must be one of the most definitive releases of a film on DVD yet. Other favorites are The Hidden Fortress and High and Low.

    I am not sure if they are on Criterion, but Yojimbo and Sanjuro are another pair of Kurosawa / Mifune classics that suck you in moments after it starts.

    Rashomon is a twister of a tale, often spoken of on the same level as Seven Samurai, but I know quite a few people that think it is over-rated.
  16. Chryse Guest

    I think Yojimbo and Sanjuro are on some sort of BFI disc in the UK - I remember seeing some kind of ad in Sight and Sound at some point in the not too distant past. Criterion has Region 1's, but I think the aspect ratio is just a touch off. Could be wrong. The Criterion's don't have much in the way of extras, apart from the trailers.

    The Criterion edition of Seven Samurai has a pretty good commentary by Michael Jeck, which includes excerpts from Kurosawa's "Something Like an Autobiography." So far, Criterion's released, I think, seven of his films, with The Lower Depths coming up next.

    Slightly OT, but not quite: Kurosawa's autobiography is itself a must-read if you're interested in him, or in the Japanese film industry and film culture up to the release of Rashomon. Donald Richie's book on him is a must as well. There's also a pretty good, pretty comprehensive doc on Kurosawa that came out a year or so ago.

    Slightly back on topic: For a non-Japanese samurai film, you could do worse than Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, which features Forest Whitaker as an urban samurai-hitman.
  17. Yani The Observer

    Great film! Modern samurai movie.
  18. I've seen the trailer for that, it looks really cool.

    Also, what samurai series was it where the main character had a training room for his penis? That was a really cool series, albeit a little uh.. different. Darn.. it's bugging me.
  19. DrCraze Guest

    Dunno 'bout the film with the penis scene,... but I finally got around to watching Samurai Fiction yesterday.
    It was great. Some kick-ass fights with some rather humerous stick-ins... I quite enjoyed it :D
  20. Ok I finally figured out the other series I was talking about. The Razor. Hanzo the razor. There are three films that I know about featuring this character. Sword of Justice, The Snare, and Who's Got The Gold. The main character, Hanzo, is just cool as hell though. The movies are bloody and violent, and a tad pervy as well.. .since Hanzo has a special training room for his penis (which he uses often). He uses his sexual abilities and well trained member to pump information from women to help him with his investigations. (ok.. pardon the pun)

    I found a link here.. but it only gives a basic description of the movies:
    http://www.e-budokai.com/chambara/razor.htm

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