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Movie Review | Sanjuro

After the success of his previous film, Yojimbo, Akira Kurosawa was asked to revive his lone Samurai for a sequel.  Fortunately, Kurosawa replied positively and in 1962, Sanjuro was released into theaters.  Frequent Kurosawa collaborator, Toshiro Mifune reprises his role as lone wondering samurai Sanjuro Tsubaki, who this time finds himself entangled with nine heartfelt but hopelessly naive rebels.  After saving their lives, he decides to help them in their cause to take back their corrupt government, spurring a crusade of adventure and war.

Similar to Yojimbo, there are many thrilling sequences of Samurai action as well as the beautiful cinematography Kurosawa is known for.  However, Sanjuro both deepens its dramatic themes, as our title character is caused to reckon with the acts of violence that he commits with such skill and precision.  After a particularly destructive massacre, he cries out at his inept companions, “This is your fault!” demonstrating the moral ramifications of a life lived in violence.   Yet, the film ultimately takes an even lighter tone than that of its predecessor, and as the young rebels fail again and again to heed the instructions of their mentor, it is increasingly amusing.  Overall, Sanjuro is an essential, and entertaining experience for fans of cinema, yet remains accessible and enjoyable for viewers on all levels of cinematic understanding.

Written by: Parker Gehring

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