A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * * * * ) DVD Rating: ( * * * · · )
Sanjuro is the further adventures of "twitch" Sanjuro, the ronin who travels the lands helping the needs of the good and cutting down the evil. This time, our hero gets involved with a group of nine warriors who's hearts are as pure as their brains are small. Their lord has been kidnapped by a much more powerful clan and they must get him back. Sanjiro helps them as well as he can, though they act more like dumb sheep with swords than warriors. The movie has everything a good Kurosawa film should. Not quite as slapstick as Yojimbo, but overall a much better movie. Finally we get the sword fights that were somewhat lacking in Yojimbo including one of the best one-on-many and one-on-one duals ever filmed. Mifune does an excellent job with Sanjuro as he attempts to avoid the demons of his past and the ghosts of all the men he killed. An old woman helps him to understand what it is to kill and why one should not. The DVD is a good representation of the film except for the subtitles which are forced into the letterbox (making me use a special setting on my projector in order to read it). The picture is not 16x9 enhanced and the soundtrack is mono. With a black and white movie close to 40 years old this isn't too much of a problem. You still get lost in the story. Overall a definite masterpiece of samurai cinema. Kurosawa was truly as sharp with a camera as Sanjuro is with a blade.