Seven Samurai DVD
Starring: Toshirô Mifune, et al.
Director: Akira Kurosawa
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Seven Samurai DVD
Don't you see? A real sword will kill you
I finally got around to watching "Seven Samurai". This classic 3 hour+ film by the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa has got to rate high among the great action/adventure epics.
Kurosawa's film takes place in 16th century feudal Japan. A gang of roving bandits has been terrorizing a Japanese farming villages. The bandits are in the habbit of looting villages, stealing crops, killing people, and raping women. Knowing it's only a matter of time before they are attacked, one village sends people to town to hire some samurai to protect them from the bandits. Eventually, seven samurai are recruited and head off for the village, knowing the odds for their success are against them.
Unlike modern action films, Kurosawa doesn't rush you into the action. Instead he takes his time to introduce you to each of the characters and set up the story. Each samurai has their own distinct pesonality from the wise older leader of the group to the hero worshipping younger member. I liked watching the samurai engage in male bonding. My favorite character was the unstable samurai wanna-be Kikuchiyo, played by Toshiro Mifune. Kikuchiyo is really the son of a slaughtered farmer who is out for revenge. Mifune and Kurosawa would work together many times with great success. Kurosawa also allows for a touching romance between the younger samurai and a village girl.
Much of the film is a build-up to the climactic battle, but when it arrives it doesn't disappoint. Kurosawa masterfully builds suspense and details the strategy of the samurai, while choreographing some exciting action sequences.
Undoubtedly, this film influenced many other action/adventure epics made since. While not for everybody, anyone who is willing to give a black & white subtitled film a try will be richly rewarded. I can see now that I'll have to track down some other Akira Kurosawa films.
Unanimously hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of the motion picture, Seven Samurai has inspired countless films modeled after its basic premise. But Akira Kurosawa's classic 1954 action drama has never been surpassed in terms of sheer power of emotion, kinetic energy, and dynamic character development. The story is set in the 1600s, when the residents of a small Japanese village are seeking protection against repeated attacks by a band of marauding thieves. Offering mere handfuls of rice as payment, they hire seven unemployed "ronin" (masterless samurai), including a boastful swordsman (Toshiro Mifune) who is actually a farmer's son desperately seeking glory and acceptance. The samurai get acquainted with but remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove to be fatal. The climactic battle with the raiding thieves remains one of the most breathtaking sequences ever filmed. It's poetry in hyperactive motion and one of Kurosawa's crowning cinematic achievements. This is not a film that can be well served by any synopsis; it must be seen to be appreciated (accept nothing less than its complete 203-minute version) and belongs on the short list of any definitive home-video library.