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Tsubaki Sanjuro: first review

Tsubaki Sanjuro posterYoshimitsu Morita’s remake of Sanjuro opened in Japan yesterday, and Daily Yomiuri online has already posted a review. As the title of the review (“Kurosawa remake avoids worst scenario”) suggests, the verdict is slightly positive, but also one that questions the actual need for the remake.

In fact, it seems that Tsubaki Sanjuro is pretty much what we had expected. The review confirms it to be an almost “line to line, cut to cut and angle to angle” copy of the original. This, of course, with the exception that Yuji Oda, like the trailers already suggested, does not command the same screen presence as did Toshiro Mifune, thus completely undermining his character’s role in the movie.

The review also makes an interesting point — although the remake uses the same script as the original, it is almost half an hour longer! Whether this is because of modern films’ generally lengthier opening and closing titles, or because the remake doesn’t have Kurosawa’s almost perfect pacing, it doesn’t say.




Jeremy Quintanilla

30mins longer is a bit surprising, I would of guessed it would be shorter, but that really depends on where you consider the movie starting, and as Vili said modern credits do consume a large chunk of time. Everything else mentioned is as predicted, I would still really like to see this film.

Getting slightly off subject
I do think if this film does well, we will start to see a increase of remakes in Japan, the trend is just starting up slowly within the coming months with a few lesser known 70’s Japanese remakes.
I do know, as even mention in the book “Kurosawa” by Yoshimoto that film in Japan isnt really considered a legit form of art today, or even all that popular. The times I have been there and the few movie industry people I talked to there. It does become quite obvious film just hasnt been taken seriously anymore for sometime.

The respect for films is far less in Japan then America, although that hasnt prevented America from making among the worst films in the world, then marketing them to Japan, thus only highlighting the questionable status of film as a art, since America still holds the gold standard for what supposedly the people want to see.
What America is doing at least from my viewpoint, is trying to rehash the glory days of movies, when they where in the peaks around 1950-1970, so what better way they assume then rehashing the films that made these time periods great.
Japan has recently caught on to this trend, and as much need to get people back into theaters as America, they find attracting them with remakes of well know films the answer. However the problem in Japan, will be as mentioned in this review very few Japanese have seen any older films of Japan. So they will use the movies that have spread into modern culture, mainly old “samurai” films whose likeness is obvious in the very popular Japanese comics(manga) and anime.

I think depending on this film and a few others that are releasing soon, we will see a large increase of Japanese made, Japanese remakes of older films starting production around 2009, more the likely a large amount of famous Kurosawa’s.



Hello, I saw some videos on YouTube about the Sanjuro remake and was wondering if anyone here can translate? There are a few but this one seems like a review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IeXpWJL5uA

Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask but also if anyone can translate this interview with Toshiro Mifune.

Sorry, one more! An interview with AK and Beat Takeshi?! Who knew AK was a Lakers fan? Where is this from?
Thank you.


Vili Maunula

Thanks for the links, deconstruct!

The Sanjuro review seems to ask pretty much the same question as the review we have had before — what was the point of this remake? My Japanese has deteriorated to the point where I can’t understand most of what is being discussed, though, so if anyone can shed more light to the details, by all means go ahead.

I’d love to have the Mifune interview translated. With Mifune mumbling all the time, I can’t understand a thing! 🙂 I wonder when this was made — must be the 80s, but Mifune looks really good for his age!

The Takeshi interview is from the documentary “A Message from Akira Kurosawa: For Beautiful Movies” that has ten Kurosawa interviews. See here:


Jeremy Quintanilla

That Mifune interview was cool, despite no having a clue what he was saying. I could only partially understand the girl, here speech was clean and slow enough for me.

I noticed on other Mifune interviews that he mumbles a lot.
Why are all the great actors, horrible at talking outside of films. Most mumble, or lack the ability to make a coherent sentence?
I remember being excite when I briefly meet Robert DeNiro (my favorite living actor, he spoke about 5 sentences to me– none did I understand.

If you watch is Charlie Rose interview for the movie he recently directed, you’ll get the idea.


Jeremy Quintanilla

HA-like am one to talk, I got mistakes all though my post. What happened to the edit feature 🙁


Vili Maunula

That’s a good question. It should be there, but isn’t. I’ll look into the matter.



>>>>In fact, it seems that Tsubaki Sanjuro is pretty much what we had expected. The review confirms it to be an almost “line to line, cut to cut and angle to angle” copy of the original.

I’ll probably see it. Eventually.

But the above quote makes me ask myself just one simple question:


Same with the new SS.


Besides, There already is a great remake of Sanjuro: Okamoto’s “Kill”

I don’t understand why the Hollywood mentality continues to believe they can cash on other’s masterpieces.

True, “The Magnificent Seven” did good business and is — by some — considered a “great” Western.

It has it’s moments. But it’s a pale copy of the original.

Lewis Saul

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