Beastly Japanese Cinema

Watched two Japanese films recently with similar titles, but not similar stories. One was Youth of the Beast and the other was Sword of the Beast. The first is a modern (contemporary with when the film was made, though that was 1963) yakuza film and it seems a bit like Yojimbo at first. An ex-con shows up in town and starts playing two rival gangs off against each other. It turns out, however, that his motives and background are somewhat different than those of Mifune in Yojimbo and Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars. The ending is both similar and quite different too.

Sword of the Beast is a movie about a samurai running from the vengeance of his other clan members who gets caught up in a plot to steal gold from the Shogun. There aren’t too many twists, but the story is an enjoyable one and seems pretty well acted to me. It wasn’t a stellar movie, but a solid period samurai movie. A few good fights, decent plot and a little bit of tragedy and comedy.

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