16 March 2020 | Movie-Misfit
Beautifully Made Samurai Drama!!
From Toho, and producer/star Toshiro Mifune, comes a beautifully made Samurai epic that continues the journey of his infamous character Yojimbo!
As per usual, with Japanese productions from this era, the sets and costumes are incredible - along with the performances from all involved. Set in the Edo period, Ambush At Blood Pass is, although far from perfect, a damn fine piece of cinema from legendary director Hiroshi Inagaki, which also happened to be his last feature as director.
Stars, Mifune and Katsu, who also starred alongside each other in the brilliant Zatoicho Vs Yojimbo - are as wonderful as always and never boring to watch. The film is full of great characters, dressed in wonderful costumes and often quite interesting, the cinematography is just amazing, and I would absolutely love to see this (if not all of Inagaki's films) restored in 4K for the ultimate viewing pleasure - as the picture quality on this Artsmagic/Warrior UK DVD release is criminal...
As with most Samurai classics, there is a different pace and feel to the artistry captured on screen. From the visuals to the production design, the score to the script, it just has something that sets it apart from what others around the world were offering at the time!
While there may be better Samurai films out there, Ambush At Blood Pass 'passes' its 2 hour running time quite nicely, and holds up for repeated viewings. Although heavy on drama (compared to the Hong Kong and Taiwanese kung fu films of the 70's), it does still have some great moments of swordplay and fighting albeit in typical classic Samurai style.
Overall: A pleasure to watch, Ambush At Blood Pass is a fantastic swan-song for director Inagaki, and a must for fans of classic Samurai cinema!