Sanjuro (1962) – A Fast Sword

The final sequence of the movie just caught me up. While Akira Kurosawa and the crew put the budget in the last blood, there is so much tension when talking about this scene. The atmosphere was silent but Sanjuro had to part with the people he had helped. However, once again, he just doesn’t want to ruin everything. Be he must leave everything. If not, the sharp sword would only keep everyone out of control. And the best part of the sequence is the tense. It’s just so quiet but there is no exaggerated cut or close up; the Sergio Leone style. The image was just there, didn’t move and the audience just waited for who would take out their swords as soon as possible. It’s a battle between dead or alive.

“Sanjuro” is a sequel from “Yojimbo“, another masterpiece by Akira Kurosawa and inspiration for Sergio Leone. The movie was such a huge success for the director. This also includes ToshirĂ´ Mifune’s character as the samurai with no name. While “Yojimbo” was a success, “Sanjuro” is also the same as the prequel. Both of the movies inspired a lot of spaghetti western movies, including in the samurai genre and anime tropes. It’s a true sequel for the series and closes Sanjuro as the man with nothing trip.

Kurosawa and Mifune, a true combination, worked together again in a sequel directed by the original director. While not excessive to say this is a masterpiece as well as “Yojimbo”, “Sanjuro” is a fantastic underrated motion picture by the director. The story star with a group of young samurai is in a political game. The Superintendent of a clan is plotting to take the clan by implicating the Chamberlain to do corruption. The plan included killing the staff of the Chamberlain and other defilements. Enter the famous ronin from behind to help them. In this case, the ronin tried to question who was really right and himself, after all, that had happened in “Yojimbo”.

The story is quite confusing, different from “Yojimbo” where the main characters move from one party to another. The story is a bit of complicated but still interesting and unpredictable because of various twists in it. Sanjuro is a cunning yet genius, not too hasty, but also lazy. He puts a lot in his plan and motion in order to take this clan collapses little by little. At first, Sanjuro always mocked them because of their ignorance and impatience made Sanjuro’s plans fall apart. But, as soon as Sanjuro went through a lot of things with them including meeting the Chamberlain’s wife, he tried to question. Whether he had become a good person or was still not enough intake to his redemption in “Yojimbo”.

The story takes a serious drama with its complexity and the main character actions in learning one to another clan. While these serious things, the movie has a lot of comical moments and comedy as well. It’s a Kurosawa universe, sad, action, and drama in one story. Kurosawa is trying to make you believe this is still a film about Sanjuro. But, the comedy is what makes me feel comfortable. He didn’t try to ruin these serious moments but kept its tone as much as possible which is not too serious too. Kurosawa, when it comes to comedy, is hard to believe when you laugh with a serious tragedy but you still deal with it.

This is a not-rated movie. This movie is action and violence. The final sequence of the movie literally goes to this even though it’s still funny why the rating is like that. Although it’s presented in black and white, the sequence is so effective. The shocking and the most amazing yet beautiful final moment in magic carried out by the director. The movie, besides the final sequence, also has great choreography. One of them was when Sanjuro had to fight 10 people while protecting the 4 clans he helped. All of the moments focus mostly on the tactics and intelligence of this and another clan. They don’t just always face and fight.

“Sanjuro” is more like a Kurosawa style movie than the spaghetti westerns of “Yojimbo” in a visual presentation but more polished. “Yojimbo” has a more mixed bag and “Sanjuro” is more to a solo movie, more bright but still gorgeous. There is nothing wrong with both movies because I prefer “Yojimbo” which still shows a lot of visuals rather than this film. Both movies work very well together in the first and final Mifune’s Sanjuro trip. It gives a little more complex and in-depth in its character.

4.5 out of 5 stars.