The Hidden Fortress (kakushi-toride No San-akunin) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hidden Fortress (kakushi-toride No San-akunin) Reviews

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½ May 15, 2018
As much as I appreciate Kurosawa's sense of entertainment and ever-relevant humanist through lines, The Hidden Fortress felt somewhat flat and overlong. Even though I love Mifune in this, and can appreciate the immeasurable influence in action movies to come, I prefer Kurosawa when he's more clinical and introspective.
February 6, 2018
Weak, especially by Kurosawa's high standards.

In the middle of a war, two peasants trying to escape the fighting stumble across a man who persuades them to help him move his gold to a safer area. He turns out to be Rokurota Makabea, a famous general in the army of Akizuki, the invaded country. The two peasants scheme to enrich themselves at the General's expense, but he foils their every attempt. However, he is also transporting someone more precious than gold - Princess Yuki, the heir to the Akizuki throne. There is a bounty on her head and the journey will be a perilous one.

Not Akira Kurosawa's best work - far from it. Pretty slow-moving and dull, with little profundity or grittiness. Essentially one long, linear road movie.

Starts off slowly and never seems to find even second gear. Every scene gets drawn out to the max. No real focus either, just a long winding walk of a movie.

Making things worse is the presence of the two peasants. Incredibly irritating and silly characters, they are largely responsible for the movie feeling so lacking in substance. Whether through bad writing, direction, casting or performance - I suspect a combination of the four - they have a profoundly negative impact on the movie.
November 16, 2017
Seeing that actor get his head trampled by the horse was like woah. It's very obvious to see all the inspiration this movie had on the Star War movies. Even the soundtrack sounds similar with whistles and sort of orchestral-like at times. The transitions between scenes are a dead give away also. As always, Kurosawa's use of extras is impressive and amazing.

I love how the story just chugs along very easily as if a genius wrote the story out. Even though the movie is in black and white, I can definitely tell that the locations used are beautiful. It makes me want to visit that part of Japan or wherever it was filmed. That being said, the way the movie was filmed is wonderful as well. Very elegantly done.

Matacischi and Tahei bring the comedy and humor to the movie resembling the likes of R2D2 and C3PO. Kurosawa's famous use of fog makes itself present again.

Overall, splendiferous movie with great characters and plot.
September 18, 2017
The opening scenes of The Hidden Fortress are a little scattered. It establishes the peasants played by Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara, but they just seem to be bouncing around from one place to another. I really enjoy these characters, because they have a humorous report with one another. Admittedly they are a bit infuriating because they constantly make the wrong decisions, but they had enough personality that I found it funny instead of frustrating. They are the catalyst that gets the story going, but I still wonder if the movie really needed to start and end with them. Either way, after a little bit of rambling, the story settles down and hits its stride once that first piece of gold is found.

This is where Toshiro Mifune joins the movie and suddenly elevates it to another level. His interactions with the peasants is priceless because he is always two steps ahead of them. He also adds a lot of charm and gravitas to any character he portrays. Misa Uehara is superb as the strong princess who pretends to be mute for a large portion of the movie. Her clear dominance over Mifune?s character is exciting to watch because it makes her the most important character in the film despite the fact that she barely speaks. There are a few other vital roles in the movie but this quartet are the ones that work together the longest and I love the arc of their story.

There were some moments where I longed for some of the more dramatic samurai fights that I?ve seen in a couple of other Kurosawa films. The most significant fight in the film is done with spears instead of swords which seems a bit clunky, even if the scene still has a lot of intense dramatic moments. The plot carried The Hidden Fortress despite some minor tweaks I would have enjoyed seeing. I found this to be a well-made film that I would gladly revisit. You can certainly see a few places where George Lucas drew inspiration from The Hidden Fortress in the story and with some of the character creation. But I was glad to see plenty of differences so you couldn?t accuse Star Wars of being a remake, at most it is an homage to this classic.
½ August 18, 2017
Plenty of comic relief in this one.
April 28, 2017
it's good just as I would've thought. There are moments when I'm like..."how can this be that old - that technique i didn't think existed that long ago." which is what a Kurosawa movie is always like.

It's kind of a straight forward action type picture but when it eventually gets rolling, you really are invested in it.
April 6, 2017
Excellent adventure movie. The comedy is really refreshing for one of these feudal movies. Fun characters in an entertaining story.
March 21, 2017
Akira Kurosawa is among the absolute greats of directing. The Hidden Fortress is a tense, engaging, and funny story full of charismatic and spunky characters.
½ July 2, 2016
No doubt a significant movie historically, as it is the predecessor to many modern action adventure movies, but far from Kurosawa's best. I feel like in an attempt to make a much lighter hearted movie, too much mystery and spontaneity was removed to make the story more linear and easier for a general audience to appreciate.

Not to say that the story is bad, but when compared to other Kurosawa films, the best parts of Hidden Fortress pale in comparison. The use of peasants as an introduction to a story with a much larger scope is cool, but done better in Seven Samurai. The same goes for it's period detail.

At over two hours it is treading into the run time of some of his epics, which does not feel justified by the much smaller character driven story.

I probably sound like I didn't like the movie, but it's really not a bad movie by any means. This is Kurosawa at a lower point and it still years ahead of the competition.
June 18, 2016
I always forget how goofy Kurosawa's characters can get sometimes, that's why I need to finish up watching the films I have of his oeuvre (incomplete though it may be).
½ April 12, 2016
5 stars for cinematography. Story was lighter than the other Kurosawa films I have seen, both in substance and tone.

It is often mentioned how influential this film was in setting the building blocks for Lucas and Spielberg's blockbusters. As for setting a template for Star Wars, it was the weakest element of Hidden Fortress that carried over to the space fantasy. The two peasants are the banchmark for annoying comic relief characters like c-3P0 and R2D2, but I was thinking they were also much like Jar Jar Binks, sans Jamaican accent.

There are several scenes in this film that, on their own, could define an entire movie. Criterion's restoration leaves nothing to be desired.
April 6, 2016
This alluring epic from Akira Kurosawa is a grandiose adventure characterised by gorgeous sets and lofty explorations of greed and loyalty.
Hidden Fortress is perhaps one of the great auteur's more understated masterpieces, but viewers ought to remember that without it, we wouldn't have Star Wars, and we'd likely have missed out on many a Sergio Leone western along the way. Elegant in its simplicity, the film is peppered with good humour and unforgettable exchanges - more than a handful of which have have left indelible marks on modern cinema as we know it.
The film is undoubtedly overlong, with a tendency to sway softly between its moments of greatness, but this only renders each all the more rewarding, reflective and resonant. So sit back, and let poetry unfold before your very eyes.
March 25, 2016
Packed with action and wildly diverse characters, Akira Kurosawa's runaway epic is a fun (if occasionally overacted) winner!
February 5, 2016
Akiro Kurosawa's masterpiece and the template adopted by George Lucas for Star Wars. As a matter of fact C3PO and R2D2 are the two protagonists here. Even Princess Leia is directly influenced by the princess in this film. I highly recommend this movie to those who do not have a problem watching foreign films.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2016
I streamed this on Hulu because I've heard George Lucas admit to basing R2D2 and C3PO on the two scheming, bickering, greedy peasants (Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara) in this, yet another of Kurosawa's great samurai pictures. There is a headstrong Princess (Misa Uehara) and a loyal General (Toshirô Mifune) sworn to protect her through enemy feudal territory. That is really the extent of plot or character similarities with Star Wars. I'm glad I saw this essential classic before the new The Force Awakens. Timed to that new release I was also greatly interested in articles about how Lucas wanted to cast Mifune as Obi Wan Kenobi or, if the actor preferred anonymity, as Darth Vader. Both roles were turned down because science fiction was thought of as a cheap genre. Of course the name Obi Wan, the martial arts, and the spiritual nature of the Force are all still highly influenced by Japanese Samurai culture. I can only imagine that the first Star Wars film would have been AWESOME with Mifune in either of those roles. Kurosawa produced, directed, contributed to the script, and edited his own films. The gorgeous black and white photography fits this Medieval samurai adventure like a katana sword fits its sheath. The two peasants aren't played by big celebrity actors, they're character actors who often played minor parts in Kurosawa's movies, yet this time it is the minor characters that carry us through the plot. The one, especially, irritatingly whines and moans at every hardship. These are not heroic characters except for their virtues of persistence (but that's to get a gold pay-out), and at the critical moment surprising even themselves by not turning in the princess for the reward (but that's mostly self preservation). The stoic and heroic General toys with the peasants and is often surprised by the strength his young charge shows. The ragtag group against hundreds behind enemy lines plot is thrilling as the conclusion is reached.
January 18, 2016
Una de las tantas obras maestras que realizo Kurosawa, aprovechando con placer e intención las prestaciones del tohoscope, con el paisaje, esos formidables exteriores del monte Fujimori en los que transcurre la acción, desiertos o bosques que siempre nos deparan información de primer orden de los personajes que enmarcan, sus movimientos, su fuerza, su debilidad. Y hablar de lo telúrico, en Kurosawa, supone hablar de lo climatológico, la temperatura dramática en la que se traduce el azote, o la caricia, de los elementos naturales. Al respecto, por su magnífica definición visual, cabe detenerse en esas secuencias que narran el modo en que se va estrechando el cerco contra los protagonistas además de ese tono humorístico y patético que acompaña a los mendigos durante la aventura.
January 13, 2016
a good as any classic Kurosawa's masterpieces go. Hidden Fortress follows a ambitious narration which the story is unfolded by two seemingly irreverent and unlikable characters. As the story progresses, we get to see the bigger picture of the film which is about a revolution of an ethical kingdom. The film eventually inspires Lucas to make the first Star War, and Hidden Fortress sure is a more stylish approach of such theme.
Super Reviewer
½ November 30, 2015
It's entertaining from start to finish but what pushes the film into the level of greatness is that the film's two central characters are greedy cowards who Kurosawa somehow manages to get the audience to completely empathize with.
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