A muscular battle of wills, anti-war parable and an illustration of how co-dependancy must prevail in order for survival in punishing conditions and extreme situations. Gripping, brash and ruggedly masculine, it (mostly silently) conveys perfectly their frustrations, reluctant gradual tolerance and eventual acceptance.
Mifune's got superior Japanese engineering, but Marvin's got tenacity & Yankee shamelessness, in this weird war of attrition 'tween two avatars of rugged manhood. They whale on each other, tie each other up, fail to build homoerotic tension, live in the moment -- presexual, preverbal, cut off from duty, emotionally transparent, like toddlers. The suspense is wondering if & when & how hard the adult world will hit.