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.
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.
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.