-This is the official sequel to Yojimbo which is recommended viewing in order to understand the Sanjuro character.
The plot of this film revolves around nine samurai who are meeting in secret after some political corruption is suspected by the chamberlain after he’s accused of nullifying a petition. Sanjuro just happens to be close by and eavesdropped on their whole conversation while claiming that it was really the superintendent who may be the corrupt one in this situation. Then (surprise!), the superintendent’s infantry shows up to surround the building where all ten samurai are in which meant that Sanjuro was right the whole time, so they all have to concoct a plan to stop this while also kicking butt.
The first fight scene that happened involving this huge infantry of soldiers working for the superintendent gave me enough of a foreshadowing of how everything was going to be. Sanjuro is able to beat up dozens of soldiers with his sword and also by throwing random people at their own comrades so easily before they decide to retreat. That was a turn-off to me because it showed just how invincible of a protagonist Sanjuro would be throughout the film. Sure, I’ve had some issues with him being too much of an ace in Yojimbo, but at least there were times when he was vulnerable and he had a harder time beating up gang members who were less trained in combat. Not to mention that there were fewer of them in that movie compared to a whole army in this one and he doesn’t even break a sweat in fighting them.
That’s right, everyone. Sanjuro has officially become a Marty Stu anti-hero in this film.
There, I said it.
I won’t say this movie was completely horrible though. The fight scenes are still well choreographed (this IS a Kurosawa film, after all) and are exciting to watch. The comedy elements do work here like Sanjuro’s habit of using a fake surname that’s based on whatever plant he sees outside. He goes by Sanjuro Tsubaki this time around and Tsubaki means Camellia in Japanese for those scoring at home. Some of the banter between some of the characters did give me a bit of a chuckle sometimes like how one character talks about having a longer face than a horse which he does have that physical trait. After the final (yet very brief) fight scene, there is a slight moment of clarity going on, but it still felt a bit hollow.
Akira Kurosawa has made great films and I can’t deny that. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the same amount of enjoyment from Sanjuro as I have with his other works that I’ve seen so far. The borderline self-parody aspects of this version of the Sanjuro character and the mediocre secondary characters really hampered this film for me. Hardcore Kurosawa fans may balk at my analysis, but I failed to see what was so great about this sequel to Yojimbo.
Add 3-5 points if you’re a Kurosawa fan.
Subtract 1 point if you hate invincible heroes.
-Well-choreographed fight scenes
-Decent humorous quips
-Sanjuro’s god mode Marty Stu character
-Idiotic secondary cast
Final Score: 4/10 points
Content Warning: There is a lot of sword fighting in this movie and most of the fights are surprisingly clean except the final one where there’s a blood explosion coming from one character. The story itself would be suited for teens and up even though it’s very straightforward.
Photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.