Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Shogun's Shadow (1989)

Director: Yasuo Furuhata

Starring: Ken Ogata, Sonny Chiba, Norihito Arai, Toshihiro Asari, Seizo Fukumoto, Miyuki Kanou, Masaki Kyomoto, Hiroki Matsukata, Takeshi Maya, Hiroyuki Nagato

More info: IMDb

Plot: Iemitsu, Tokugawa Shogun III, hates his eldest son Takechiyo; all his love is given to his younger son Tokumatsu. One day, he orders Takechiyo to an initiation rite in Yedo (today's Tokio). Takechiyo lives far away under the surveillance of Hotta Masamori, head of the Skura clan, where he was also raised. Hotta does suspect some kind of treachery, but he can not ignore the direct command of the Shogun. Therefore, he starts on his travel with Takechiyo and seven accompanying samurais. A large army under the command of Iba Shoemon, a vassal of the Shogun, attacks their night camp in the vicinity of a copper mine. Hotta dies in this first battle, but Takechiyo and the samurai manage to escape. They are chased by the army, and several skirmishes between the small force and the larger army follow.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I digs me some Samurai flicks and this is a good one.  It's funny because I don't think I've seen a bad one yet.  Anyway, There's a ton of action from every direction.Ken Ogata is great as the middle aged samurai, Igo Gyobu, sworn to protect the rightful heir, Takechiyo (Ippei Shigeyama).  His evil adversary is Iba Shoemon (Chiba).  Their showdown is epic and feels like a Western gun duel but with swords.  It's even in the middle of the dirt road in town just like in an American Western.  You'd think the picture would end there but it doesn't.  At first it's a little weird how it keeps going but there's more to the movie than swordplay and killin' folks.  The music score by Masaru Sato is really good even though the orchestral style he chose feels strange for a film like this.  There are three moments (the first doesn't happen until halfway into the picture) where you get 80s hair metal songs as performed by Japanese artists.  We laughed our butts off.  They come out of nowhere and make no sense for this 17th Century flick but it's fun in a bizarre way. 

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