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The Hidden Blade Reviews

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Lady D

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2006
A long winded love story, to which becomes more enjoyable during the second half. Boredeom set in occasionally which surprised me because I?ve heard such good things about this film.

Super Reviewer

January 15, 2007
fantastic film. winner of 12 japanese academy awards, this one has a great ending. i liked the film even better after a second viewing when i was able to invest more in the story. the second of yamada's samurai trilogy, all 3 are essentially perfect films.

Super Reviewer

May 9, 2009
This is an absolutely jaw-dropping brilliant film. This was from the 2005 Berlin International Film festival. And I will tell you at the start 5 Stars and its worth no less. A story of a Samurai, that mixes the traditions of a Samurai, along with the sword action, and Romance for you ladies. All throughout the movie the background scenes are phenomenal Don't shy away from this. One can only hope that Munezo the Samurai (Played by Massatoshi Nagase) will do another movie. Maybe in the Zacochi way, a number of movies, but not TV Series type. Takako Matsu played Kie, who was Munezo Family's house maid, she play the part to the T. If I tell you the details of this movie it would only ruin your watching, Trust me when I say ladies its just not Swordplay and Samurai. You will enjoy the addition of the Life Long Romance, Enough Said, 5 stars.

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2008
Director Yoji Yamada has been writing and directing films since the 1960s, so it is no surprise at how much recognition The Hidden Blade receives in its home country of Japan.Let me get this out of the way. At first glance this movie is deceiving. The title is actually an appropriate one with the way the film plays out, but at the same time it makes the film seem like it is all about Samurai and swords. This film is all about Samurai, but it isn't all about the swords. This is not an action adventure by any means.A good portion of the first half seems unnecessary, but it all falls into place as the movie progresses. I will also say that it progresses 10 minutes past the 2 hour mark, but this slow pace does wonders for the story, which feels like a film from the 1980s or early 90s. It doesn't look like a film from 2004. You really get a chance to understand all the major characters and their relationships. Even with the serious story, Yamada finds the time to insert really small chunks of comedic scenes that are HILARIOUS. It doesn't feel out of place either.The action. There is a small duel near the end of the film and that is it. The camerawork is great, but the swordplay, while realistic, is a little bland. Don't watch this if you are expecting Samurai swordplay.The acting is as good as the story. Masatoshi Nagase carries the film and the beautiful actresses are pleasant to watch.The Hidden Blade is a bunch of great action sequences away from being a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but this is worth the watch if you like good dramatic stories.

Super Reviewer

July 9, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Hidden Blade", Munezo Katagiri(Masatoshi Nagase) is a low-caste samurai living in rural 19th century Japan whose father had committed harakiri some years before. His younger sister, Shino(Tomoko Tabata), is being courted by a good friend and fellow samurai, Samon(Hidetaka Yoshioka). Their maid, Kie(Takako Mitsu), will soon be married too...[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]Three years later, Munezo, still not married, comes across Kie in a shop and finds that the intervening years have not been kind to her after she married a merchant and is now often ill. A few months pass, and Munezo has learned that Kie has still not recovered and is, in fact, treated badly at her house. This time, he decides to take matters into his own hands...[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"The Hidden Blade" is not a bad movie but it is too similar to Yoji Yamada's own superior "Twilight Samurai" to be considered much of a success on its own. This movie is simply not as engrossing as the previous film as it is very slow and predictable. However, there is some thought given to the conflict between Western influences(the training with artillery and new guns) and the tradition of the samurai. [/font]
Fascade F

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2009
It was hard...very hard to sit still through this Japanese movie based upon honor and the cherish of the concealed and almost lost art of love, between a samurai, and a house servant .... to top it off...a rival swordsman of the star of the show is bound by honor even though his rival is arrested and condemned for a gang affiliation not allowed in the mid 19th century Japan. It is an extremely slow moving but interesting portrayal of loyalty and the code of honor that people in that time era had to keep for order to be maintained.

Super Reviewer

October 16, 2009
The epic tale of Munezo - a samurai being displaced in a rapidly changing Japan. After a failed political coup he is ordered to prove his innocence by finding & killing his best friend samurai & brilliant swordsman. Munezo enlists the help of their old teacher who entrusts him with a secret technique. Second part of a Yji Yamada's trilogy and it was so good that I now have to watch oter two parts as well...

Super Reviewer

July 3, 2009
Soap opera-ey
William G

Super Reviewer

December 14, 2006
A constantly interesting samurai drama.
February 1, 2012
Not what I was expecting but I enjoyed this. It was funny, you felt for the characters and the story was good.
January 21, 2010
Starts out extremely slow, but soon picks up and turns into a great film. Highly stylized and dramatic swordfights. Based on this I'd like to see Yoji Yamada's other films such as Twilight Samurai
August 19, 2007
Samurais are pretty sweet. I really liked the clash between Eastern and Western culture. Overall an entertaining movie complete with an awkward love scene at the end.
February 19, 2007
A samurai movie with a (sort of) happy ending. More of a love story than a sword swinger but some really good performances.
January 31, 2007
At first glance I was fixated on the look of the Samuri. Then, on second fixation, I gave up any other representations of the Samuri that I have seen. Embracing the film, I really fell in love with what I feel was an accurate potrayal of the Samuri, the Geisha, Retainers, Code, Honour, "the ritual suicide", and among others the clothing and village atmosphere. Nothing seamed so over the top, except the Retainers. Katagiri was such a warm charcter as was his love Kie. Without dramitizing the fact of artillery, enough emphasis was dealt to the fact of how meaningless life is with guns and ammo. There is no discusion, no code, no honour, just a distance of communication, resulting in one after thought, that being death. As will most kung-fu historians, the hidden blade was something to look forward to. Here, our Hero, Katagiri, shows there is only death to see in the Hidden Blade, there is no skill to learn. Drawing on Kie, the love in this film ( also I might add that the intro, and use of Kie's sister was magical), we see that being a homemaker is not dishonour, nor nothing against feminism. Yes there was the Geisha in the film, but they were denounced with their insignificance towards an honorable showdown, and the love a wife had towards her then "criminal" husband. The Geisha simply laughed, knowing nothing of real love nor loyalty. In closing I will say the Hidden Blade very much surprised me because of their truth to the story and period. I would reccomend this to any 4th grade elementary class for historical bearing. I saw Sparticus, in that grade for my first ever film. I truly believe the Hidden Blade can be of such importance when learning Asiatic philosophy and lifestyle.
March 26, 2013
Another Yoji Yamada masterpiece, which may fall short of The Twilight Samurai, but is a masterful film in it's own right.
November 9, 2012
Even if you choose to do a single Samurai action scene in a movie..u make it bleed epicness!
June 25, 2012
brillaint samurai cinema
June 22, 2012
Just a word of caution, this movie is VERY Japanese. I love its meditative format, but others may be frustrated by its deliberately slow pacing and lack of adherence to Western film conventions.
March 27, 2012
This is one of the best samurai film ever made. The fight choreography and history facts are very accurate. The scenario is also really well done: simple and raw. A must see for samurai lovers.
May 15, 2011
Most U.S. audiences know Masatoshi Nagase from his work in Jim Jarmusch's MYSTERY TRAIN, but it's his work in Kaizo Kayashi's brilliant Maiku Hama (read "Mike Hammer") films that made me a fan. Of the films I've seen, this is Nagase's most layered, yet subtle performance, and it's easy to see why he's not just an important actor to Japan, but internationally as well.
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