With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, November 08, 2010

ACF 763: "Three Outlaw Samurai" at Asia Society, NY, Friday, November 12th

Three Outlaw Samurai
Directed by Hideo Gosha
Japan,1964, 95min, 35mm, B&W
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NYC
Showtime: Friday, November 12, 2010, 6:45PM
Price: FREE!!!!!

Three Outlaw Samurai is the second in Asia Society's FREE film series Japanese Cinema 1960s.This series is co-presented with Japan Foundation. This project is supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Tickets can be registered online and are available for pick-up on days of events. For more information, visit http://asiasociety.org/japanesecinema1960s or call (212) 517-ASIA.
Based on a popular television series of the same name also directed by Gosha, Three Outlaw Samurai features three ronin who found themselves accidentally entangled in the conflict between a group of peasants and their local magistrate. While initially reluctant to get involved, the three quickly make up their mind as to for which side they will fight. A dash of humor, attitude and style accompanies this action-packed picture. Janus Films.

“The result is cinematic magic, the perfect blend of blood and tears, a film worth watching over and over again.” -Mike Street, The Asian Reporter

“[Gosha is] a genius at staging action.”-- Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

ACF mini-review and rating: There are elelments of two famous Akira Kurosawa films here. One, obviously, is Seven Samurai, in which several ronin protect some villagers from bandits. Here it's only three ronin and the villagers are being victimized by the high taxes imposed by local magistrate, who refuses to address their concerns.

The other film is Yojimbo. Any time you say a dog wandering around early in a samurai movie, you just can't help thinking of Yojimbo, even if as it is here, the dog is in the background and isn't carrying a human hand in its mouth. Another similiarity is the escape by Sakon Shiba (Tetsuro Tanba, probably most recognized by westeners for his role in the James Bond flick You Only Live Twice) from the magistrate's clutches.

Still one shouldn't make to much of these similarities. Three Outlaw Samurai stands and deserves to be judged on its own, and in this regard it does very well. There's enough innovation to make the story line interesting and chambara action galore. Considering it's not often shown, and that Asia Society is presenting it for free, it's a no-brainer that it's well worth seeing. ACF rating is 3 out of 4 stars, a good, solid film.

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