Mifune is great and a lot of the performers are good. The film starts out strong, but it seems to peak too early in the showdown interrupted by the arrival of the officer. It falls apart and drags a bit after this, despite being held together by solid sequences. The ending is quite good though.
Perhaps the most blatantly exciting Kurosawa. Mifune makes Sanjuro real with every little twitch, glance, and scratch; it all feels so natural. Music is crazy cool and not what you would expect. The intro is beautiful, as are many shots throughout. Village looks very real. Mifune's thoughts are shown via action, not crudely spoon-fed. The stock characters somehow miraculously elevate the film, the comedy works
Nulla più dell'eleganza donata da Kurosawa alle inquadrature di questo capolavoro può spiegare l'immenso genio del Maestro giapponese. La regia riesce a mettere la cornice a delle inquadrature strabilianti per bellezza ed efficacia, sia nel giocare con le ricche profondità di campo, sia nel sostenere la narrazione del soggetto. E che soggetto. Uno dei più bei film che abbia mai avuto l'immenso piacere di vedere.
Toshirō Mifune plays a cocky wandering Samurai in the midst of a gang war in a small village. It inspired the spaghetti western remake “A Fistful of Dollars” which is also pretty great, but Yôjinbô is a fine example of Kurosawa nailing the Samurai genre and crafted a worthy sequel with “Sanjuro”.
I actually thought this was going to be my first Kurosawa to be rated below five stars... how silly of me... Never have I connected so much with a character I knew absolutely nothing about and with a story completely outside of what I was expecting. Toshirō Mifune is incomparable and this might just be his coolest role.