I don't have my copy yet, so this is not a review. But this potentially great 4-film set will include:
* SAMURAI REBELLION (imdb score: 8.4/10, 303 votes)
Excerpt From 1993 Interview with director Masaki Kobayashi
Original Theatrical Trailer
Essay by Japanese film historian Donald Richie
In Masaki Kobayashi's SAMURAI REBELLION, a formerly loyal Bushido warrior revolts against his tyrannical lord when the royals claim his unwilling daughter-in-law as a mistress. Although his quest for justice is futile, the swordsman refuses to accept the command without a fight. Theatrical release: December 1967. Winner of the FIPRESCI Award at the 1967 Venice Film Festival. Toshirô Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai also appear in many of Akira Kurosawa's films.
* SAMURAI SPY (imdb score: 6.8/10, 47 votes)
Video Interview with director
Essay by film scholar Alain Silver
Director Masahiro Shinoda weaves a complex, twisty narrative in the aptly named SAMURAI SPY, which follows war- and subterfuge-weary warrior Sasuke Sarutobi (Tetsuro Tamba) as he gets drawn into one last mission, tracing a wily defector named Koritama. Defying the genre conventions of samurai films, Shinoda's story is full of noir-ish intrigue and double-crosses. It takes place in a world where none of the characters, not even samurai, are what they seem.
* SWORD OF THE BEAST (imdb score: 7/10, 10 votes)
Essay by japanese film and pop culture authority Patrick Macias
After killing one of his own clan's ministers in a reform plan gone awry, proud samurai Gennosuke (Mikijiro Hira) flees his former comrades and, thoroughly shaken, goes to live alone in the wilderness in SWORD OF THE BEAST. There he falls in with a group of illegal miners and a master swordsman named Yamane (Go Kato), who eventually shows him how to recapture his lost honor. Director Hideo Gosha is a master at shooting swordplay, but here he handles the more interior, emotional moments with just as much skill.
* KILL! (imdb score: 7.1/10, 80 votes)
Original Theatrical Trailer
Essay by film historian and culture critic Howard Hampton
Two scruffy swordsmen, Genta (Tatsuya Nakadai) and Hanji (Etsushi Takahashi), are the focus of Kihachi Okamoto's black comedy, which is loosely based on the same novel that inspired Kurosawa's SANJURO. Genti, a weary ex-samurai, and Hanji, a former farmer and aspiring warrior, arrive in a small town and promptly get sucked into a dispute between a brutal, corrupt clan leader and a group of brave but hapless rebels. Full of dark, irreverent humor as well as plenty of action, KILL! keeps up a quick pace, and features music by Masaru Sato (who also composed YOJIMBO's terrific score).
audio is in mono, with improved english subtitles. available 10/25/05. imdb scores as of 10/14/05. all info obtained from other websites.