18 August 2005 | IrishYankee
Seriously awesome movie.
I was a fan of The Shogun's Samurai. So you can imagine my reaction when I was at the movie store and saw Big Pappa Yagyuu on the cover of a different movie. I took a gander at the back to get the synopsis and I immediately knew I NEEDED to buy this. It is pretty much the same cast as Shogun's Samurai, it has Sunny Chiba, Toshiro Mifune, the same director and pretty much all the same co-stars. If you DID like Shogun's Samurai, you will probably like this one a lot more. I know I did.
This is A lot longer than Shogun's Samurai at just under 3 hours, but it is definitely for good reason. This movie is a film rendition of one of the most famous tales in Japanese folk lore which is the story of the 47 ronin who willingly went to their death to avenge their lord who pretty much got the shaft after attacking another lord in the shoguns castle. The first 2 hours involve only a few fights but it isn't that big of an issue because it is a good story and it has cool camera shots. This part of the movie wont blow you away, but I still really liked it because I'm kind of a dork and the story really interested me. The last 45 minutes or so is a giant battle with LOTS of samurai sword action that apparently was choreographed by Sonny Chiba.
There are only a couple of issues I had with this movie. For one, Sonny Chiba only had a very minor role in it which was kind of sad because he is really bad ass(but when he IS in it, he is laying a serious beat down on whatever bad guy is in the shot with him). And the other issue is they could have probably trimmed out 30 minutes worth of footage. I say this because sometimes the camera would wait way too long to finish a scene with a close up on an actors face.
All in all, very solid samurai flick. Any fan of Sonny, Samurai Movies, or folk lore(this is pretty much the Japanese equivalent of the Alamo story, according to my Japanese friend) will probably really like this movie assuming they have 3 hours to kill. I liked it even more than I liked The Seven Samurai which is saying a lot, possibly because I like Sonny Chiba, and it had a lot better use of music which made some of the scenes a lot more immersive.