Toshiro Mifune's vigilante-cum-shitstirrer wanders into town to clean it up and inspire a new generation of film makers along the way. Great characters, superb camerawork and a ripping yarn which rides along at a cracking speed, this is a perfect primer to Kurosawa's world.
An amazingly cinematic, awesome, and consistently impressive feature starring an eternally badass Toshiro Mifune, and directed with confidence and artistry by Akira Kurosawa. The camera work and score are also outstanding, adding to a vibe that the movie moves on that gives it a very cool, very western feel. Such a western feel in fact, that it inspired a western in the process.
Yojimbo has been hailed for its impeccable technical, moral and influential qualities. The strongest, however, is the quite avant garde critique on a transformative capitalistic society. Cinema is perspective and here Sanjuro is our center, our conscious, our outside look into a world dominated by greed. Once again, Kurosawa reveals to be a master of doing complex things in a very, very simple form.
Near the last act, it sadly abandons the dynamic nature of the 2 families and focuses too much on a single one. This was a missed opportunity to have an ending in which both families destroy each other, AKA 2 birds with one stone. As it is, this is a highly enjoyable tale with some wonderful comedy, especially early on with the dog. Each shot also has beautiful lighting and Kurosawa was the master of composition.
Pretty much the cheat sheet for all films after it where a wandering bad ass plays off rival gang members for his on profit and amusement. And if we're being complete honest Toshiro Mifune pretty much invented the 'man with no name' wandering anit-hero character. Visually stunning, intense to watch with all round great acting and memorable characters. A cinema classic and inspiration for future films to come.