A nameless ronin wonders into a rural village in feudal Japan. To restore peace in the community, he concocts a plan to play the two head rivals, fighting for monopoly of the local gambling trade, against one another.
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I wasn't expecting Yojimbo to be as funny as it was. Mifune's samurai gestures are great physical comedy (that little shoulder shimmy every time he'd stalk off), and the giant and the idiotic brother are hilarious. I also really loved Eijirô Tôno as Gonji, the tavern keeper. I can't wait to compare it to Leone's A Fistful of Dollars and to see Kurosawa's own sequel, Sanjuro.
Holy fuck, do my senses deceive me or did Toshiro Mifune just do a better Clint Eastwood than Clint Eastwood? If this were the Badass Olympics, and who's to say it isn't, I would give this movie a perfect 10.
Not as deep as Ikiru, Kagemusha, or Rashomon, but it is tighter and more consistent than Seven Samurai. It plays as a zesty mix of a western, samurai flick, and French New Wave movie. It's fast paced, funny, and expertly acted, but also has something to say about class, greed, and and the lack of regard for the sanctity of human life.