Hideo Gosha Reviews

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Goyokin

Review A young samurai returns to his home and discovers a higher calling- revenge! Goyokin tells the story of a haunted samurai named Magoei who returns to the site of a past massacre to seek revenge. The clan he abandoned plots another massacre. Protecting the lone woman survivor of the previous massacre, Magobei endures a great amount of punishment to atone for the sins of his clan. Goyokin goes beyond the samurai genre and explores honor and the folly of blind loyalty.
Three Outlaw Samurai

Review This first film by the legendary Hideo Gosha (Sword of the Beast) is among the most canonized chambara (sword-fighting) films. An origin-story offshoot of a Japanese television series phenomenon of the same name, Three Outlaw Samurai is a classic in its own right. In it, a wandering, seen-it-all ronin (Tetsuro Tamba) becomes entangled in the dangerous business of two other samurai (Isamu Nagato and Mikijiro Hira), hired to execute a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a corrupt magistrate. With remarkable storytelling economy and thrilling action scenes, this is an expertly mounted tale of revenge and loyalty.
Sword Of Desperation

Review Legendary swordplay filmmaker Hideo Gosha Sword of the Beast chronicles the flight of Gennosuke, who kills one of his clan's ministers as part of a reform plot. He is pursued by his former comrades, and the betrayal so shakes his sense of honor that he decides to live in the wild, like an animal
Samurai Rebellion (The Criterion Collection)

Review These four classic films, from four masters of Japanese cinema, turn a genre upside down, redefining for a modern generation the meaning of loyalty and honor, as embodied by the iconic figure of the samurai.
Sword of Doom 1966

Review Surly scowls and flashing swords abound in Rebel Samurai - Sixties Swordplay Classics, a dazzling new box set from the Criterion Collection. The samurai genre is often compared with the Western, but three of these movies are closer to film noir; shot on a limited budget, they make up for limited production values with ingenious direction, punchy editing, and heated emotions. All four, however, are notable for their jaundiced view of the traditional samurai culture--the blind loyalty to their masters, holding honor above all, sacrificing self for the good of the clan.

Masaki Kobayashi's Samurai Rebellion, starring Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon, Shogun), is the most traditional of the four: Visually elegant and austere, it meticulously traces how a forced marriage leads to a family's collapse in a bloodbath. Repressed emotions erupt in honor-shattering violence as a father and son turn against the lord of their clan in the name of love. In the other three, the moviemaking itself reflects the upset in values. Hideo Gosha's Sword of the Beast follows an aimless ronin (a masterless warrior) who, pursuing gold, finds a new meaning in life as he battles killers from his own clan. "To hell with name and pride!" he shrieks in the first five minutes of the movie, mere seconds after a sexual dalliance in the underbrush. The story roars along, the visual style loose and dynamic, the characters far more gritty and rough than the stiff-backed soldiers of Samurai Rebellion.

Masahiro Shinoda's Samurai Spy fairly explodes with spectacular action sequences and dynamic editing; the politics are almost impossible to follow, but the story rips along as a handsome spy navigates a treacherous war, musing about life and death when he's not engaged in acrobatic swordplay. The final film, Kihachi Okamoto's Kill!, is as outrageous as its title. From the opening scene of a starving ronin stumbling out of a howling dust storm, Kill! pushes the complexity of clan politics to absurd proportions and discards stylized duels in favor of realistically brutal and clumsy butchery, backed up with a startling surf guitar soundtrack. Black humor abounds as wildly eccentric characters--including Tatsuya Nakadai as a laconic, Robert-Mitchum-flavored ronin--scrabble for food, sex, and some shred of dignity in a ravaged landscape. All four films will be a revelation to anyone who thinks the samurai genre begins and ends with Kurosawa. Each is mesmerizing on its own; as a package, they're a potent education. Essential viewing. --Bret Fetzer


Three Outlaw Samurai (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review At the dawn of the Showa Era, the new Emperor has granted amnesty to almost 400 prisoners. One of those men, Seiji (Nakadai), formally a henchmen for one of Japan's toughest gangs, must now cope with the fact that his former boss is dead and the power shift has created new conspiracies.
Lone Wolf and Cub (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review Yokiro was the most successful Geisha house in Western Japan during the first half of the 20th century and remains open to this day. At its peak, it was home to over 200 geisha, however behind the fabulous facade, there were many battles - between family members, men and women, and with the Yakuza. Momokawa was sold to Yokiro at age 12, and despite being the top geisha, her many complicated relationships provide unending challenges throughout her glamorous but turbulent life.
Sword of the Beast (The Criterion Collection)

Review A young samurai returns to his home and discovers a higher calling- revenge! Goyokin tells the story of a haunted samurai named Magoei who returns to the site of a past massacre to seek revenge. The clan he abandoned plots another massacre. Protecting the lone woman survivor of the previous massacre, Magobei endures a great amount of punishment to atone for the sins of his clan. Goyokin goes beyond the samurai genre and explores honor and the folly of blind loyalty.
Eleven Samurai

Review This first film by the legendary Hideo Gosha (Sword of the Beast) is among the most canonized chambara (sword-fighting) films. An origin-story offshoot of a Japanese television series phenomenon of the same name, Three Outlaw Samurai is a classic in its own right. In it, a wandering, seen-it-all ronin (Tetsuro Tamba) becomes entangled in the dangerous business of two other samurai (Isamu Nagato and Mikijiro Hira), hired to execute a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a corrupt magistrate. With remarkable storytelling economy and thrilling action scenes, this is an expertly mounted tale of revenge and loyalty.
The Complete Lady Snowblood (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review Legendary swordplay filmmaker Hideo Gosha Sword of the Beast chronicles the flight of Gennosuke, who kills one of his clan's ministers as part of a reform plot. He is pursued by his former comrades, and the betrayal so shakes his sense of honor that he decides to live in the wild, like an animal
The Sword of Doom [Blu-ray]

Review These four classic films, from four masters of Japanese cinema, turn a genre upside down, redefining for a modern generation the meaning of loyalty and honor, as embodied by the iconic figure of the samurai.
Three Outlaw Samurai (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review Surly scowls and flashing swords abound in Rebel Samurai - Sixties Swordplay Classics, a dazzling new box set from the Criterion Collection. The samurai genre is often compared with the Western, but three of these movies are closer to film noir; shot on a limited budget, they make up for limited production values with ingenious direction, punchy editing, and heated emotions. All four, however, are notable for their jaundiced view of the traditional samurai culture--the blind loyalty to their masters, holding honor above all, sacrificing self for the good of the clan.

Masaki Kobayashi's Samurai Rebellion, starring Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon, Shogun), is the most traditional of the four: Visually elegant and austere, it meticulously traces how a forced marriage leads to a family's collapse in a bloodbath. Repressed emotions erupt in honor-shattering violence as a father and son turn against the lord of their clan in the name of love. In the other three, the moviemaking itself reflects the upset in values. Hideo Gosha's Sword of the Beast follows an aimless ronin (a masterless warrior) who, pursuing gold, finds a new meaning in life as he battles killers from his own clan. "To hell with name and pride!" he shrieks in the first five minutes of the movie, mere seconds after a sexual dalliance in the underbrush. The story roars along, the visual style loose and dynamic, the characters far more gritty and rough than the stiff-backed soldiers of Samurai Rebellion.

Masahiro Shinoda's Samurai Spy fairly explodes with spectacular action sequences and dynamic editing; the politics are almost impossible to follow, but the story rips along as a handsome spy navigates a treacherous war, musing about life and death when he's not engaged in acrobatic swordplay. The final film, Kihachi Okamoto's Kill!, is as outrageous as its title. From the opening scene of a starving ronin stumbling out of a howling dust storm, Kill! pushes the complexity of clan politics to absurd proportions and discards stylized duels in favor of realistically brutal and clumsy butchery, backed up with a startling surf guitar soundtrack. Black humor abounds as wildly eccentric characters--including Tatsuya Nakadai as a laconic, Robert-Mitchum-flavored ronin--scrabble for food, sex, and some shred of dignity in a ravaged landscape. All four films will be a revelation to anyone who thinks the samurai genre begins and ends with Kurosawa. Each is mesmerizing on its own; as a package, they're a potent education. Essential viewing. --Bret Fetzer


The Sword of Doom [Blu-ray]

Review At the dawn of the Showa Era, the new Emperor has granted amnesty to almost 400 prisoners. One of those men, Seiji (Nakadai), formally a henchmen for one of Japan's toughest gangs, must now cope with the fact that his former boss is dead and the power shift has created new conspiracies.
The Samurai Trilogy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Review Yokiro was the most successful Geisha house in Western Japan during the first half of the 20th century and remains open to this day. At its peak, it was home to over 200 geisha, however behind the fabulous facade, there were many battles - between family members, men and women, and with the Yakuza. Momokawa was sold to Yokiro at age 12, and despite being the top geisha, her many complicated relationships provide unending challenges throughout her glamorous but turbulent life.

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