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Sword of the Beast by Hideo Gosha is a samurai film taking place almost entirely outside in a forest atop a mountain where gold is located. The lush landscapes add a beautiful and timeless backdrop against a wonderful story of betrayal and lost honor. Mikijiro Hira (13 Assassins was a recent Miike film he starred in). plays Gennosuke and infuses his character with all the attributes of the wild beast he has become, yet still retains honor and his humanity in the end. The story is a complex and layered piece that involves several characters and the involvement of Gennosuke which in one way or another helps him to find his honor once again. The film is filled to the brim with stunning battles and duels, all of which seamlessly take place in the wilderness and add a real artistic beauty to the action. This is truly a masterpiece of samurai and Japanese cinema!
[font=Century Gothic]With striking black and white cinematography, "Sword of the Beast" starts out with Gennosuke(Mikijiro Hira), a ronin, on the run after killing the clan counselor. A conjugal visit quickly turns into a trap, but he makes his escape. His next escape requires a little help since his pursuers have enlisted a lot more help. Gundayu(Takeshi Kato) has dreams of panning for gold on a mountain with Gennosuke working as his bodyguard. The only problem with this is that the gold is under the protection of the shogunate and anybody caught taking it will be decapitated.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]At that point, "Sword of the Beast" gets a little muddled as it shifts gears away from being a pure chase movie, introducing a handful of major characters on the fly.(By comparison, the movie stops at the beginning to introduce Gennosuke and his pursuers individually.) By the end, everything has come together in a satisfying climax.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The movie is set in 1857, just after Commodore Perry has paid a visit to Japan, as the old status quo is starting to fall apart, replacing it with upward mobility.(Of note is the large role that women play in this movie which is unusual for a samurai film.) At the same time, the movie wonders if this is automatically a good thing.[/font]
A nice little mid-sixties Samurai film. Nothing I haven't seen before, but the fight choreogrophy is better than a lot of its contempuarys. Its like a Samurai Bonnie and Clyde, sort of.
very good story. the fighting is great and the lead character does a great job. the diologue is great and the story moves quickly leaving you interested through the entire film. a movie where the end leaves you satisfied.
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