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Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics [4 Discs] [Criterion Collection] [DVD]

Release Date:10/25/2005
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A seemingly simple assignment sends a warrior for hire into a labyrinth of danger and intrigue in this intelligent and expressive action vehicle from filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda. In Japan in the year 1614, Sasuke Sarutobi (Koji Takahashi) is a retainer of the Sanada Clan who has grown weary of the constant warfare that has become a fact of life in his country. Tatewaki Koriyami (Eiji Okada) is a lieutenant with the Tokugawa Clan who has fled his commanders and thrown his alliances behind a rival clan, and Sarutobi is ordered to discover his whereabouts. However, as Sarutobi sets out in search of his quarry, two people he meets en route -- a charming but amoral thug and a beautiful woman -- both wind up dead shortly after he establishes friendship with them, making it clear to the samurai that someone is out to get him. As a strange and deadly assassin follows Sarutobi's trail, he finds himself drawn deeper into a web of dangerous alliances and bitter conflicts, with the warrior meeting almost no one he can trust short of a beautiful dancer also hoping to escape the violence around her. Sarutobi was loosely adapted from a novel by Japanese author Koji Nakada.~Mark Deming


Samurai Rebellion features:

Excerpts from a 1993 interview with director Masaki Kobayashi

Original theatrical trailer

New essay by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie

Sword of the Beast features:

New essay by Japanese-film and pop-culture authority Patrick Macias

Samurai Spy features:

Exclusive interview with director Masahiro Shinoda

New essay by film scholar Alain Silver

Kill! features:

New essay by film and cultural critic Howard Hampton