If you've seen The Magnificent Seven, or A Bug's Life, you're already familiar with the basis of this story. But if you haven't actually seen Akira Kurosawa's epic film that started it all, then you're missing out.Any film that can keep your attention for three hours is already a big achiever. Kurosawa crafted the hero film to end all hero films, or rather, the hero film that all others drew from.
It tells the story of a 19th century Japanese town under siege from an evil band of brigands. Faced with another year of starvation and shame, the town sends out for samurai assistance. Though finding samurai who will work for nothing isn't easy, they manage to scrape together a rag-tag collection of swordsmen who, after initial mistrust, set about training the villagers to defend themselves against far greater numbers.
Sounds familiar? Well, it's been copied a million times by lesser directors, but never pulled off so beautifully and perfectly.
The star of the show, though he plays a sub-character, is Tostiro Misfune (who also starred in Kurosawa's Yojimbo) as a maniac wanna-be samurai. He is genuinely hilarious through-out and makes this film not only an action feast, but funny enough to keep your attention throughout the three hours of the film.
The original cut was much longer still, so if you can find that it might be worth spending a day watching.
Again, if you haven't seen The Seven Samurai, go down to your local video store and scour the foreign, action, classic and martial arts sections until you find this film. It's well worth tracking down, especially if you are a student of film.Yes it's black and white. Yes it's subtitled. If that's a big issue to you, then perhaps you better go rent a Jim Carrey movie and laugh at someone talking out of their ass.
Bollocks. Step up a level. Explore Kurosawa.