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Review: Kenji Misumi’s The Last Samurai (1974)

Kenji Misumi’s The Last Samurai
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4.5 stars

Starring: Hideki Takahashi, Ken Ogata, Kiwako Taichi, Keiko Matsuzaka

Directed: Kenji Misumi

Release Date: September 21, 1974

Run Time:  159 Minutes

Format: DVD

Audio:
Japanese / Subtitles: English

Distributor: Neptune Media, Inc.

Film Synopsis

Let the enemy slice your skin, so you can cut his bone.

Hideki Takahashi stars as Toranosuke, a disinherited son who finds new life by immersing himself in the true way of the Samurai. Mentored by Ikemoto, the Boss of Spies, Sugi is eager to test his skill in the service of the Shogunate. It is a time of crisis. The city of Kyoto has been overrun with insurgents. Forbidden by his master to get involved, Toranosuke is soon drawn into the wars, massacres and upheavals that marked the final days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Samurai vs. samurai, spy vs. spy, friend vs. friend, conspiracies and assassinations abound. Who will survive to become The last samurai?

The 67th and final film by famed director Kenji Misumi (Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, Lone Wolf and Cub). Featuring dazzling swordfights, elaborate battle sequences and a stirring score from internationally renowned composer Akira Ifukube (Godzilla series, The Quiet Duel), The Last Samurai stands among the great classics of the genre. Boasting a script by co-written by Kenji Misumi, this is perhaps Misumi s most epic and personal film.

Audio/Video

Audio

Audio Format(s): Japanese DD
Subtitles: English

The Audio was pretty good for DVD and for the film being from the 70’s. The films sound had good bass to it and made it seem like this was not from the 70’s with the mono like sounds. No clicks a pop here and there but over all sounds good.

 

Rating:3.5 stars

Video

Disc Format: DVD
Encoding: MPEG-2
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 720 x 480

The video looks like most remastered samurai films from the 70’s. looks great on close-ups. Distant shots faces get blurry, colors are good but not vibrant, black levels seem a tad washed out. Overall the picture looks good and watchable the subtitles are white but have a thick black outline so it backs it better to read on lighter backgrounds. It’s not best Ive seen on DVD but it looks good, and better than some newer films on DVD.

IMG_0910  IMG_0912 IMG_0911

Rating:3 stars

 

Theatrical release Date: September 21, 1974

DVD Disc release Date: June 26, 2012

This film came to the US on June 16, 1977

Extras
  • 16:9 High Definition Digital Transfer
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Essay by Tom Mes, Author of Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike
  • Actor Biographies
  • A Kenji Misumi Biography
  • Photo Gallery
  • Film to Novel Comparison
  • Movie Stills
  • And More!
My Thoughts

The Last Samurai and not to be confused Tom Cruses flick this was made in 1974 was a great film. I can’t believe I never heard of this film until Neptune Media showed me the way.

The Last Samurai has about every thing in it from comedy to blood and limbs on the ground, to things I’ve never seen in a Samurai film like a barbershop, crazy hair and gangrene lol. While being a long film (159 min) I was still interested in the film and I think that was due to the changing of the age period in the film. It Starts at the ending of the Samurai period and ends in modern time, Not are modern time but there where suits, guns and canons involved. The action was scattered out through the film from big battles to One on Ones and One on Sevens. Not a bunch blood consedering Misumi Kenji (Lone Wolf and Cub) directed this, there isn’t tons O blood in the film. This was Misumi Kenji last film as he passed away just a year later after directing The Last Samurai.

I recommend those who are fans of samurai films to get this as I feel it should be in your collection. It has great a story good action and its realistic. On a side note the main lead Hideki Takahashi looks like Steven Seagal from a distance haha.

Overall the film is great and is a must for samurai film viewers and collectors. I rate the film a 4.5out of 5.

below are some cool stills

Hanjiro (Ken Ogata) confides in Okita (Teruhiko Saigo) Soji Okita (Teruhiko Saigo) fights the imperial troops Reiko (Keiko Matsuzaka) disguisded as a Samurai

 

Trailer
About Masked Avenger

CEO/Webmaster of soreelflix.com. The Name Is James and I love Film ranging from Silent 20's to highly CGI Blockbusters of today. Westerns, Horror, world film, basically anything that peaks my interest I own it But Asian Films are what I Prize the most and Half of My collection Consists of Asian Films. Thanks to the Film 5 Deadly Venoms

I Hail From The US, Maryland Is where The Ninja Studies and views the Scrolls of Film That Shine on his 46" Screen. I own a sword, I can do a thousand upside down situps, and I randomly disappear in smoke when I'm not writing movie news and or reviews.

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