Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichij˘ji no Kett˘ (Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple) (Swords of Doom) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichij˘ji no Kett˘ (Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple) (Swords of Doom) Reviews

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October 27, 2017
My favorite film of the trilogy. Kojiro and Miyamoto become very interesting.
June 17, 2017
Samurai II is easily the best of the trilogy. The fight scene in the rice paddies alone would have made this an instant classic. Another great performance by Toshiro Mifune.
December 29, 2016
The influence of this film is undeniable. Countless films, from Kill Bill to Star Wars, have borrowed and paid homage to this classic. It's worth watching just for its importance in film history.
½ July 9, 2016
Another great entry into this series. The women in Musashis life though... oh boy.
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2016
Hiroshi Inagaki's 1955 film "Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple" picks up where the last one ended as Musashi leaves the Priest in search of Enlightenment and finding disappointment with the Samurai's lost values. Toshiro Mifune returns, as does many cast members from the first film in the "Samurai Trilogy." The only exception is that Rentaro Mikune is replaced by Sachio Sakai in the role Matahachi. This film isn't as lush or beautiful as the first film but more bleak and cold. The violence is there, but there's also a love triangle involved between Musashi and Otsu (Kaoru Yachigusa) and Musashi and Akemi (Mariko Okada). But both women ultimately find out that he has only one love and that's the sword.
Mifune's character becomes master of two blades as the real Miyamoto was and the very first scene when he fights a man with a chain and sickle. Once he defeats the man he is told that he is too strong. His personal enlightenment continues through this film.
½ December 5, 2015
The best part of the trilogy! Toshiro Mifune is nearly godlike here, with his majestic performance, reeking of aura. Brilliant!
½ October 27, 2014
Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)

This is the second film in the Samurai Trilogy about legendary Japanese swordsman, Musashi Miyamoto (Toshiro Mifune). Toho Studios filmed this in color but a lot of the scenes are studio shot. There is enough photography of the beautiful nature outside though, and the beautiful culture of ancient Japan is showcased.

Although this is a samurai film, there really isn't as much sword play as you would expect. Instead, there is a lot of melodrama between all of the women in Musashi's life, trying to track him down.

There's innocent Otsu (Kaoru Yachigusa) who has been waiting for Musashi at a bridge outside of town. There is also the less innocent/fallen dove courtier Akemi (Mariko Okada) who has never forgotten Musashi but is being pimped out by her mother, Oko (Mitsuko Mito). Musashi's old buddy Honiden Matahachi (Rentaro Mikuni) plays the music at Oko's and has been busy drinking his regrets.

Musashi travels around the country, practicing his sword skills by challenging various Samurai and fencing schools. He's begun to get a name for himself. The old monk, who has mentored him has told him that he's too strong, and too angry in his swordsmanship; that he must soften that anger with compassion and work towards being more Genteel and noble.

Musashi has wanted to duel the head sensei of one fencing school and has managed to hurt and even kill some of the students in duels. The school has not been willing to let the sensei duel with him and have even tried ambushing him whenever they could including the finally at the Ichijoji Temple.

A skilled samurai, Kojiro Sasaki (Koji Tsuruta) has noticed Musashi's skill and would like to duel him to become the best swordsman in Japan. Naturally, this won't happen until the third film in the trilogy.

One thing that I would like to comment on is that the Criterion Collection has done a great job bringing these films back out into the public. The one complaint that I have is that there are not any extras to the DVDs. There are only the trailers for the films.
August 21, 2014
The middle film of the trilogy finds Musashi Miyamoto wandering feudal Japan and increasing his inestimable skill as a swordsman. The plot focuses on his attempts to duel the master of a martial arts school, while avoiding the students attempts to eliminate him as a threat. The film also sets up the final film by advancing the love triangle introduced in the first film and introduces Miyamoto's main rival in the final film. A marvellous action/adventure film that looks magnificent on Criterion's Blu-Ray.
½ June 21, 2014
Strong second instalment to the trilogy, and while it's not the main focus of the film, it highlights the difficult position of women in Japanese society of the time.
½ May 29, 2014
The follow-up to 1954's excellent Musashi Miyamoto, Duel at Ichijoji Temple picks up the story several years later, as an exiled orphan-turned-swordsman gains notoriety via a bloody tour of fatal duels. His reputation precedes him in returning to his hometown, where old rivals of both a violent and intimate nature await. This is a film about personal growth - specifically that of the samurai himself, who struggles to learn the key concepts of what his new life actually entails and where the rift lies between honor and reverence. We're never quite sure if Musashi takes this lesson to heart, particularly since he's so keen to maintain an impenetrable outer facade in almost every situation. It's a tricky role for period veteran Toshiro Mifune, who struggles with the more nuanced, flatter aspects of the character. In the previous episode, with the fires of young-adulthood to toy with, he excelled. Here, faced with the malaise of mid-life and the accompanying questions of his own being, his performance is far less sublime. The plot, cramped with too many faces and several seemingly-pointless subplots, does him no favors in dancing around the issues and repeating itself on more than one occasion. This could have been an excellent one-act show, and the final half-hour could still stand alone as precisely that. It lacks the gumption of its predecessor, however, and too often cuts away just as the action is getting good.
½ January 2, 2014
Though some may see this as a weak entry in the trilogy, it's still above par.
December 23, 2013
The second installment opens up with a duel. Musashi arrives at a sight early at dawn and encounters a stubborn young child. The opening samurai duel sets the stage for artistic, well choreographed fights with a high level of suspense. Musashi is immediately put down by a wandering Zen monk who says that he is still too wild to be considered a true samurai; thus begins the balancing act and spiritual transformation of Musashi.

In this film we see the tragedy of Matahachi in his relationship fleshed out. In addition, the love triangle between Akemi, Otsu and Musashi continues. Musashi wants to make a name for himself and ends up seeking out the master of the Yoshioka clan for a duel. The students of the master continue to try to ambush and kill off Musashi. We meet a new character that will be more fully developed in the third movie: Kojiro Sasaki. Kojiro is a ronin as well seeking out to become the best samurai of the land. He is interested in Musashi's growth as a legend so that he can face him off later and gain an even greater reputation.

The film is shot at 1:33:1 aspect ratio which creates shots with greater depth within the composition. The position and use of the camera is done masterfully. One of the most memorable scenes is when Musashi leads his gang of attackers into the muddy rice fields. It creates great tension and memorable fights. Inagaki is also very skillful in setting up great scenes, like a duel with snow falling and then cutting to another simple scene that takes place after the fight. He teases the audience and leaves it wanting for more.

One of the most surprising aspects of the film is how forward the female characters are portrayed. They are not simple, obedient women, but have strong personalities and own their sexuality. Toshiro Mifune plays the character flawlessly and displays his commanding presence as a skilled swordsman that is later perfected within the great Kurosawa films.
August 5, 2013
Finally, we're watching a chanbara. Far better than the first movie.Still there a lot of dragging scenes. But it's nice to see the journey of Miyato Musashi, and man, ain't he the ladies man. LOL. Got three gals running after the legendary samurai.
July 8, 2013
The second in the trilogy is better than the first if what you're looking for is great samurai action. The titular scene, where Musashi battles EIGHTY men is superb. The journey there, however, is a bit of a slodge because it incorporates a few soapy/melodramatic love story/love triangle which I felt doesn't work THAT well with the otherwise strong material. I'm not against it per se. I just felt it hampered it, not compliment it. But it's only a minor quibble since everything else is so good and it sets up well for the third film.
April 13, 2013
As great as the first although like the first it is unreliable and not accurate to the fullest.
½ March 28, 2013
Beautifully conceived shots and scenery along with excellent story telling and character development make Samurai II a great film. Musashi exposes much of the cowardice involved in a group of samurai and it makes for some fantastic sword play and character advancement as many of his mentors tell him that he is too strong and forceful.
February 23, 2013
I wasn't expecting the visual feast on display here.The cinematography and scenery place an important part.
The first movie is being really used as a movie to set up things, while this second movie is mostly being used to build up to its climax that will occur in the third movie. Epic.
January 31, 2013
Part 2 of the trilogy is easily the most exciting, with a HUGE battle at the end, and the anticipation of the final duel for part 3. The soundtrack and main theme continue to shine, as do Mifune and his leading lady, Kaoru Yachigusa. It reminds me of Gone With The WInd, and yet, I haven't seen that movie haha. Great stuff, bring on number 3!
December 14, 2012
Fantastic continuation of a most splendid samurai trilogy ever filmed. It starts off with a bang, and it ends but that way. THe titular duel is a masterpiece in filmmaking (a most-wonerful choreography and scenery), the tranquility that absorbs the attention, and the intensity of sword-fighting sequences combine for a marvelous experience. Toshiro Mifune shines once again as Miyamoto, a lone samurai bound for love and seeking a rival, who'll prove to be a worthy contender. Miyamoto not only has to fight with an aspiring, young and proud swordsman, but he also has to overcome his emotionally-unstable state and choose between the two woman, who long for his heart. Miyamoto is a graceful fight and an avid thrill-seeker, and his aspirations are as high as his sword technique is extravagant. Samurai II is a fantastic epic tale about honor, loyalty, loneliness, and the way of the warrior.
½ November 23, 2012
Sasaki Kojiro vs. Miyamoto Musashi. Two kensei? Remake this film while you're at it, Takashi Miike!
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