Yojimbo - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Yojimbo Reviews

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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
November 10, 2015
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.
August 25, 2015
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.
½ July 14, 2015
Akira Kurosawa's main man, Toshio Mifune, plays two rival gangs off against each other in what can only be described as an Eastern Western. And an influential one at that.
Drawing on the the cinematography of John Ford films, Kurosawa's contemplative, chess-like chiller is a precursor to the likes of Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars: a movie which literally plays like a shot-by-shot Yojimbo remake.
Kurosawa captures paranoid townsfolk peeping through shop windows, Saki showers, showdowns and moments of snappy comedy. But it's Mifune's enigmatic samurai who really hits film history hard, bringing us what might just be the first ever depiction of Mr stone-faced stoic cool (a la Clint Eastwood).
Yojimbo is ultimately a silly, simple Samurai flick with an easy-flowing action formula to be endlessly replicated in the near future. Luckily enough, some scenes still stink of cinematic wonder, especially the fantastic final showdown.
Classic telephoto action.
July 6, 2015
I don't know, it just didn't do it for me. Sort of unmemorable.
May 17, 2015
A clever story of a samurai who chooses to play the field and strategically pit two armies against themselves to bring peace back to the village.
May 5, 2015
Good, but not this directors best.

Story is rather simple and the characters have little to no development but it is still interesting to see how everything plays out.

The direction is one of the best elements. Take note of where characters are placed in the frane as well as reoccurring symbols.
April 18, 2015
East meets west, jedaigeki meets spaghetti western done with style. Yojimbo is about a skill ronin stirred things up between two crime lords in a village. Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece action-packed and highly entertaining film.
April 4, 2015
(73%)
Watching this it's pretty clear to anyone that A fist full of dollars owes almost its entire existence to this Japanese classic. Almost from the very beginning, right down to the performances, direction, and script, this has the feel of a classic Leone western as the guy clearly helped himself to bits and pieces. And he must have figured that he'd largely get away with it because so few western people at the time would have ever actually had the chance to even know about this far-east hit. For anyone interested in classic Asian films, or just classic films in general, this is a must-watch that's well worth tracking down. There's a fair share of action, fun, and sheer entertainment value to be had from this quality, and still watchable first rate winner.
½ March 11, 2015
This exciting tale that inspired Sergio Leone is a true landmark for Toshiro Mifune's career. The film can be exciting, heartfelt, and compelling whenever needed. It did not try too hard to be one thing, which is good but also means it cannot compare to other hit films and it may not strike the major populace today.
½ March 11, 2015
This exciting tale that inspired Sergio Leone is a true landmark for Toshiro Mifune's career. The film can be exciting, heartfelt, and compelling whenever needed. It did not try too hard to be one thing, which is good but also means it cannot compare to other hit films and it may not strike the major populace today.
March 2, 2015
My new favorite Kurosawa movie. Such a great epic. Watching this totally helped me appreciate other movies. This is what helped form the Sergio Leone dollar trilogy and in contemporary times Tarantino gives us this type of work, like in Django Unchained!
January 23, 2015
Somewhere along the line of film history, "action" formulated into its own genre. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, because the truth is "action" is no more a genre than "dialogue" or "landscape photography" are-- it's simply another tool to be used at the discretion of the storyteller.

So when I say "Yojimbo" is possibly the best action movie ever made, what I mean is that it utilizes action, perhaps, better than any movie I've seen. Kurosawa's ability to craft propulsive narrative is virtually unmatched and "Yojimbo" clips along at a perfect pace, so when the brief bursts of violence come-- and boy do they-- they're part of a unified whole: a story we're actually invested in with well-rounded characters, clever humor, and purposeful events.

And it's that "story" thing that so many action films-- particularly those of the last decade or so-- tend to fumble, with a tendency towards overcompensation through massive spectacle and overblown CGI. And yet few blockbusters I've seen in my life can compare to the nail biting tension and fist-pumping satisfaction that comes with every single action beat of "Yojimbo."

When Mifune's ronin finally marches back into town for his last duel, only 8 minutes remain in the film's runtime, yet Hollywood would argue you need at least 30 to put together an awesome finale.

Turns out Kurosawa needs less than 1 (the other 7 are for the denouement).
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