First off I'm not a big black and white movie fan nor am I a big fan of some modern Japanese films but damn were these old school Japanese movies amazingly brilliant. I think Toshiro Mifune is becoming one of my favorite actors and this is a film worthy of showing his flawless acting talent. Now one thing I've noticed with these films is like a lot of the classic asian films is that it definitely takes patience because they love to build up their stories to a beautiful climax. Samurai Rebellion happens to have one bloody and beautiful climax and one of the greatest endings I've ever seen in a samurai film.
In the Edo period of Japan, Isaburo Sasahara is a vassal of the daimyo of the Aisu clan. Sasahara is the most skilled swordsman in the land is said to be the greatest swordsman in the land but only has one that can match his skill, his good friend Tatewaki Asano (Tatsuya Nakadai). Isaburo is in a loveless marriage with a woman named " Suga" who usually has a diarrhea face. During conversations you would start to think Suga is the head of the house the way she speaks out. One day one of the daimyo's advisors orders Isaburo's elder son Yogoro (Takeshi "Go" Kato) to marry the daimyo's ex-concubine, Ichi (Yoko Tsukasa), even though she gave birth to one of the daimyo's sons not too long ago.
Isaburo wants nothing to do with it and refuses but with his son knowing what trouble it could bring to their family he speaks against his fathers wishes and agrees to marry ichi. In time, Ichi and Yogoro find love and happiness in the marriage with even his father Isaburo coming to love her as a daughter and seeing her as an important part of their family. After some time passes, almost two years, the daimyo's 1st born falls ill and dies making Ichi's son the the lead heir. Immediately the daimyo demands Ichi come back to the palace but the Yogoro and Isaburo refuse and start somewhat of a small war between their daimyo with the 2 standing alone against an entire army of samurai.
Truly I put this film next to Hara Kiri for me, maybe even surpassing it a bit because for starters the acting done by Mifune is perfect. You would honestly think you were watching real events taking place the way these actors performed. I loved the story, it was original but simple and interesting minute through minute. With a film like this where there is little to no fighting in the majority of th e film you have to make the story and acting perfect. What I loved most though is the climax as I mentioned before. The final fight scenes were almost ahead of their time. Mifune almost executed the choreography perfectly with a few scenes where his sword doesn't fully hit the opponent but still he did an outstanding job. The cinematography was great given the year it was made but I liked that there was still good lighting in the dark scenes. I think if you're a fan of these types of films this is definitely one you have to watch as it is a great movie.
Don't come to Samurai Rebellion expecting a strutting, slashing, melodramatic sword flick. Joichi is a movie that deals with major issues -- love, honor, duty, injustice and, above all, self-respect -- and does so in such a sad and noble way that the inevitability of the outcome approaches tragedy. Note that not only elements of the plot are discussed, the entire plot is. We're in the middle of the long Tokugawa Shogunate, 1725. There has been peace for years … more
"The Greatest Evil is when Good Men do nothing in the face of Injustice…" SAMURAI REBELLION (1967) is directed by Masaki Kobayashi, the same director responsible for the awesome KWAIDAN and the far superior samurai film "Hara-Kiri". Don't get me wrong, this film is a true emotional achievement by Kobayashi, the drama and intense screenplay is magnificent that even the awesome swordplay displayed onscreen seemed utterly unnecessary. "Samurai Rebellion" is … more