Yojimbo - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Yojimbo Reviews

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½ May 11, 2016
It only took about 10 minutes before I started noticing the similarities to A Fistful of Dollars in this film. Perhaps it's the fact that I just watched that one for the first time about a year and a half ago, but I noticed all the same plot points that get the story going. Yojimbo did it first, though, and it was really good at establishing characters and their motivations. Seeing the samurai enter the town and tricking both gangs into slaughtering each other is fascinating, because you never know exactly what his plan is but then it starts to unfold and you realize what he's doing. I love how subtly he manipulates them, allowing the rivals to do a lot of the dirty work for him. I also like this kind of character who is so much more skilled than the people around him, but he still holds a moral code which makes him a good guy. In a way it reminds me of the super heroes I used to love in my childhood who had all the power, but used it to help those in need.

It wasn't perfect, though. I wish there were more frequent confrontations in the film, because the story does slow down for large sections. I don't need it to be non-stop action, but sometimes the movie was so caught up in building towards something that it felt like it was never going to get there. My only other struggle with this film would be all the names. They did a good job of casting distinct faces for the characters to make them easy to differentiate, but all their names got really muddled in my head. Aside from that I think Yojimbo was a better presentation of the story that I saw first in A Fistful of Dollars. If for nothing else, I just loved the contrast that comes when a gun is brought into the world of only swords. I definitely enjoyed watching this movie, but for my first Kurosawa film I feel like I was expecting something more.
April 25, 2016
Great to finally see the original Fistful of Dollars.
½ April 1, 2016
I read that this was the film that a fistful of dollars was based on. It does have a western feeling, albeit a Japanese Samurai film, and I can see similarities but not too many to make this boring. You should watch this film and pause it at regular intervals, go away and think about it for a bit, then come back, you'll realise slowly that this is a pretty weird film, and if it portrays the time accurately then Japan was a pretty weird little country. You do need to take some pauses to let this sink in otherwise you'll get dragged down into it and the next thing you know you'll be going down the put in your dressing gown having shaved the top of your head.
October 12, 2012
If there's a category for most single handedly influential film of all time, this would be on top. The first spaghetti western, an original rice noodle archetype.
½ January 7, 2016
Not particularly interesting (to me).
January 4, 2016
Excellent. I can certainly see where the Spaghetti Western came from. Especially Sergio Leone's Dollar Trilogy.
January 3, 2016
82%
Kurosawa's most stylish film and the BGM is a killer, but somehow, it's scenes are not as effective or memorable as it's plagiarized American version, A fistful of dollars. Mifune acts well, but his character does not have the screen presence that Eastwood so easily had. The film is also less violent compared to Sergio Leone's picture.
December 28, 2015
Yojimbo tells the story of a ronin who enters a village that is divided by two gangs, to free the town from the scum Sanjuro decides to play them against each other. If you're a fan of foreign movies or cinema then this movie is definitely worth your time. Before there was the man with no name there was Sanjuro and he is one cool character, who is one of the first anti-heros ever put to screen
½ December 6, 2015
Leone may have ripped this off without crediting Kurosawa, but the pacing and action seems a little slicker in A Fistful of Dollars. Nonetheless, an entertaining film.
November 15, 2015
It had been many years since I had last seen this masterpiece from the legendary Akira Kurosawa, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again. It is currently #107 on imdb's top films of all-time. This movie shook up the conventions for the samurai film, and was the bases for "A Fistful of Dollars". Toshiro Mifune is awesome as usual. This film is a MUST watch for all movie lovers!
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2010
Kurosawa's classic film that served as a major inspiration for other directors like Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino, employing a curious, dark sense of humor in a very entertaining samurai story that also features a great performance by Toshiro Mifune.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2015
Yojimbo may not be up there with Sanjuro and Seven Samurai, but it is still an excellent samurai flick. Yojimbo has a peculiar blend of comedy and savagery but overall is not a very heavy or serious film, despite all the violence. While it can be easy to lose track of the plot, it is just as easy to pick it back up again. If you have difficulty reading subtitles, be warned, on this disc they are poorly done.
October 6, 2015
Amazing old-school samurai violence. It's the classic western in Japan. But is it safe to say that Leone did it better? It's up for you to judge. I wish I was a little more hooked in than I ultimately was, but like any Kurosawa picture, it has some of the best acting and action scenes of any piece of Japanese cinema.
½ October 4, 2015
A solid samurai film, with the loner taking it upon himself to rid a town of two warring gangs. Plenty of funny moments and lots of joker-ish characters make it not all serious, but there's also plenty of slow stretches where nothing much happens - feels like it could have been a great/fast-paced 85min film! Fight scenes were good, but could've been better. Satisfying ending.
October 4, 2015
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.
September 26, 2015
Yojimbo is the story of a man who saves a village by nearly destroying it. As the title character, Mifune's deft physicality brings the anti-hero to life, playing both sides of a gang war against each other. Kurosawa's phenomenal direction brings together the top behind-the-scenes talent at the time, with a sharp script, beautiful camerawork and set design, and a memorable score by Masaru Sato. A gem not only of samurai film, but of cinema as a whole.
July 19, 2010
Toshiro Mifune put on one of his greatest performances in one of the greatest samurai films ever.
½ August 8, 2015
It is only a hair short of a perfect movie.
½ July 18, 2015
Rating-5/10

Yojimbo, A samurai action movie created by the legendary director and writer Akira Kurosawa. This movie is considered the stuff of movie legend, but for me, it is far from it. It's not that it's a bad movie, not even that poor, I just didn't feel it is special and wound up for me an average movie. So why do people love this so much?, well to be perfectly honest I have no idea, it is smart no doubt but just too dull to be fully enjoyed, the kind of movie only some can fully appreciate.

Now don't get me wrong, the movie is pretty much built up of well done things, but just not well enough. Toshiro Mifune is very good as the samurai who makes up his name, he seems to act at a much higher level than everyone else in this cast, top stuff. As the acting goes though, it is not good and even though Mifune is on form, the rest of the cast drag the acting score so low I can't give it credit. The problem is it is just so over the top, it isn't believable and the characters seem like from a comedy at times.

Kurosawa directs and co writes well enough for this, it isn't maybe what I expect from a movie held in such high regard, but nevertheless you can see his skill at times. The movie I felt is not paced all that well, it has a very slow beginning and very little action actually, the ending is the opposite with lots going on and more action than before, it needed for me to be more evenly spread.

I think yet again the case with the cinematography and the editing is the same as the others before, done well not just not very well. I felt the editing could be a little sloppy, the cinematography makes sure that the technical side does it well with a nice approach and some pretty nice shots too. One thing I really disliked in the movie, maybe the most is the score, now some people who have seen it may read this part and disagree which is fine, but for me it is horrible, doesn't fit in the picture and makes ordinary scenes going slowly seem like there meant to be massive epic shots.

I think sometimes it is easy to criticise an older movie because it doesn't have the same things we have today, but this movie does have some positives. The ending is at moments thrilling and as mentioned the action stepped up, the fighting is a little poorly choreographed but I feel it only looks that way because of the editing to make it look less violent. That said this movie is not all that gory and horrible, the odd death and arm cut off, but not in a disgusting way, the movie is more sensible than to horrify the viewer.

I think by the end, you either could watch this with great praise or great displeasure, but even if you pick one way or the other, most should admit this is a smart plot. Of course Sergio Leone's "Man With no Name" series must be inspired by this, and that being a spaghetti western just goes to show how far this movie can reach and also inspire around the world. I do feel this is a kind of plot that works better like say in a western, a good story but points in it just not good enough for me, Kurosawa doesn't waste his time, he just doesn't make it enjoyable enough.
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