Toshiro Mifune’s wayward samurai returns to help foil the kidnapping of a statesman by a corrupt official intent on discrediting him to cover up his own crimes.
Sanjuro was made hot on the heels of Yojimbo and is obvious proof that a studio trying to cash in on the commercial success of a film by throwing together a rehash is far from a new phenomenon. The fact is, Sanjuro just copies the formula of the original with a bit more crowd pleasing action and humour and a bit less intelligence and characterisation. But let’s face it, the combination of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune was never going to disappoint no matter what the reasons for their collaboration and Sanjuro is yet another beautifully crafted and hugely entertaining samurai movie. It’s mildly comic approach does not capture the dramatic gravitas of the original film but Kurosawa’s eye is still perfection and Mifune’s performance still a powerhouse of charisma. In fact despite the commercialism of the film, the final scene is pure Kurosawa, through and through.
Cash in it may have been, but Sanjuro is still head and shoulders above the vast majority of the herd.