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Duel at Ichijoji Temple [DVD]

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  • Actors: Toshirô Mifune, Mariko Okada, Kôji Tsuruta, Kaoru Yachigusa, Michiyo Kogure
  • Directors: Hiroshi Inagaki
  • Writers: Hiroshi Inagaki, Eiji Yoshikawa, Hideji Hôjô, Tokuhei Wakao
  • Producers: Kazuo Takimura
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warrior
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Feb. 2003
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UWRY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,127 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dandeleo on 26 Jun. 2004
Format: DVD
This is the second part of the Musashi, or Samurai series. Read the book if you can. Musashi grows from being little more than a rebellious bandit to being a thoughtful swordsman looking to test himself and his skills in duels. Along the way is a twisting love triangle, battles with a fencing school (who else could take on eighty fencers at once?), and the emergence of a new enemy - a rival with skills equal to Musashi. Toshiro Mifune is, as usual, excellent in his prime role - that of a master swordsman.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 July 2001
Format: VHS Tape
In the second part of the trilogy about Miyamoto Musashi - Duel at Ichijoji Temple - Mifune continues his unparallelled swordsmanship. Musashi has matured and travels as a pilgrime devoted to bushido (the way of the warrior). Musashi's road is beset on all sides by warriors struggling as himself to distinguish themselves. By defeating an entire school of samurai Musashi earns the enmity and envy of every samurai in Japan. Parallell to Musashi's accomplishments we're following the struggles of Sasaki Kojiro to distinguish himself. Friends and enemies from Musashi's past resurfaces and makes life miserable for him. All the killing seems to make Miyamoto Musashi long for some peace and quiet but circumstances and fate has other notions about Musashi's future. The epic battle scenes at Ichijoji temple elevates Musashi accomplishments to myth. Mifune is outstanding, as always, and the director Hiroshi Inagaki use stunning photography to capture the thrilling battlescenes. The colors sometimes reminds me of the techniccolor-era. The high-tension drama in Duel at Ichijoji temple makes this film my favorite in the trilogy about Miyamoto Musashi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Davidson on 15 Feb. 2008
Format: DVD
A really great film that deserves repeated viewing. Holywood take note, this is how to fight scenes that have a real weight of realism behind them! If you want to know more about the films they are simply the basis of the star wars trilogy. Lucas basically ripped off several of these Japanese classics for his plot and charactors. He does get full credit for his imagination though.
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By Mob Bunkhouse on 24 Mar. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have no idea why the other reviewers rate this.
If you've read the Go Rin No Sho and are into the deeper end of swordsmanship or really interested in Musashi Miyamoto, or are a Kurosawa fan, .... look elsewhere. This is poor fare. All rather weak, despite Toshiro's best efforts (he's actually very good, despite everything else), and how they injected the ridiculous actor playing Sasaki Kojiro into so many scenes and love trangles, I don't have any idea. If you're desperate and in Cornwall, you can have my copy. There's much better material out there.

Then again, if all it needs is a bloke brandishing a "samurai sword" to add grist to your mill, maybe this is for you. P.s. I also saw the first of the trilogy but will probably give no.3 a miss after this. The book is far better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
By Daniel Rivera - Published on
Format: DVD
WHAT defines a man's greatness? Is it power and ambition, or something more? Part II of the magnificent Samurai Trilogy brims with action, force, kinetic energy, beauty and emotion. This film continues the saga of Musashi Miyamoto (performed by the venerable TOSHIRO MIFUNE) and his quest for perfection amidst the lives and loves that surround him.
The film begins with one of the most exciting scenes in the trilogy, in which Musashi duels with Chain-and-Sickle master Baiken using his trademark Two-Sword Stance. After the battle Musashi comes upon a priest who chides him for his lacking the chivalry and grace to match his power.
Much water has passed under Seijuro Bridge as Otsu (the lovely Kaoru Yachigusa) awaits for Musashi's return after three years -a testament to the Japanese virtue of loyalty. During her wait she comes upon the courtesan Akemi (Mariko Okada), who unfortunately also harbors feelings for Musashi, and the already-complicated romance becomes even more difficult as both vie for the same man's affection.
In his search of worthy opponents, Musashi makes enemies with Seijuro Yoshioka, head of one of Japan's most prestigious kendo schools -which in actuality has become little more than a band of thugs. Musashi's brave performance under pressure and growing reputation attract the man who will be his archenemy into the scene, the handsome yet deadly Kojiro Sasaki (played to perfection by Koji Tsuruta), a swordsman of unsurpassed skill whose trademark "Swallow-Cut" can slice a bird in flight!
The most awe-inspiring scene in the trilogy is Musashi's final battle against Seijuro's EIGHTY students: the greatest mismatch in history, AND YET he manages to defeat them and face off with the schoolmaster! Once victorious, Musashi prepares to deliver the coup-de-grace when he remembers the priest's words and the lessons of his new experiences. His soul became as polished as his sword. He spares Seijuro.
Hiroshi Inagaki shows his masterful abilities as director (or poet?) of this film. Breathtaking cinematography and color shows the beauty and spirit in nature, which parallel the actions and events in the lives of the characters. A memorable example is a scene of two sparrows singing together, which immediately precedes the reunion of Musashi and Otsu. Ikuma Dan's score is every bit as stirring and triumphant as for the first film.
The depiction of life and culture in 17th century Japan is rich and vibrant in this film, as is the evocative character development of each person. In addition to the superlative, complex storytelling, this motion picture is graced with a noble philosophy: One's greatness is not defined by action or ability as much as motive and intention. It is a testament to the human spirit. INCREDIBLE.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
a good continuation of the trilogy. 22 Mar. 2004
By Ted - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion collection edition.
In part 2 Musashi "Takezo" Miyamoto has earned the reputation of the greatest swordsman in all of Japan. In this release, which has the most action sequences in it. Takezo singlehandedly takes on 80 samurais in battle. I will not say more about the plot, lest this review would have spoilers.
The film was also good for actor Toshiro Mifune who is regarded as one of the best Japanese movie actors of all time.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The Second Movie of this Fantastic Trilogy! 8 May 2001
By Dr. Sean - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In this movie Musashi continues to polish his soul and find The Way. Now he has a purpose in his life and is rapidly becoming famous and sought after. He begins to learn that to be a Samurai involves more that just Kenjutsu, but also requires Kensho(knowing thyself).
Musashi also aquires an apprentice and a determined suitor. Both willing to follow him across Japan and back.
This movie is so great and so different from the other two, you must see this movie as well as the other two!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Part Two Of The Epic Toshiro Mifune Samurai Trilogy! 19 Dec. 2006
By Ernest Jagger - Published on
Format: DVD
This second installment of the epic samurai trilogy starring Toshiro Mifune, has much more action than in the previous episode. And while one must view all of the episodes in order to get a sense of the film, and how director Hiroshi Inagaki is trying to develop the characters in the film, especially Miyamoto Musashi (Toshiro Mifune) this is still a very good film on its own merits. But the first and second films are only planting the seeds of this character development, which will fully emerge and develop in the final [and best in my opinion] episode of this great samurai trilogy. This second installment, "Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple," begins where the first episode left off.

As the headstrong samurai Miyamoto Musashi (Toshiro Mifune) attempts to become a great samurai, we see him battle many opponents, and vanquish them in pursuit of becoming a famous samurai. Moreover, by his challenging others in duels, he is also becoming more skilled. As this second episode clearly shows, the brutish form of combat that Musashi is employing in order to become a better samurai [such as challenging other skilled samurai] leads a Buddhist monk to admonish Musashi becaues he has no compassion, according to this monk. Hearing those lines reminded me of the film "Sword of Doom," in which the antagonist, Tatsuya Nakadai's sword was an extension of his personality. Although, the two characters are a world apart in terms of their personalities, they both use their swords as an extension of who they are, or want to become.

For Miyamoto Musashi, his entire goal of becoming a great samurai is obscured by the fact that he lacks compassion for those he has slain in his duels. And although Miyamoto Musashi is shocked to hear these words, he continues to Kyoto, where he wants to challenge Yoshioka Seijuro. Seijuro is the head sensei of a swordmanship school; and killing him in a duel will go a long way to establishing Musashi's credentials as a samurai with a great reputation. Musashi also runs into Otsu (Kaoru Yachigusa), or should I write, Otsu runs into Musashi, who tells Otsu that he loves his sword more. However, she still remains loyal to Musashi. This is a decent film, however, it is not as good as the first, and of course the final episode is the key film in the trilogy, and by far the best. But this is still a very good episode. But it is the arrival of Kojiro Sasaki (Koji Tsutura) that is of great importance in this episode, which will reveal itself in the final episode. Recommended. Watch them all! More importantly, you will be pleasantly surprised with the final episode.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The way of the samurai 7 Feb. 2006
By Steven Hellerstedt - Published on
Format: DVD
DUEL AT ICHIJOJI TEMPLE is Hiroshi Inagaki's second installment in his samurai trilogy starring Toshiro Mifune. In the first movie, `Miyamoto Musashi,' Mifune played a headstrong young who fled his quiet village to find adventure and fame as a warrior. DUEL AT ICHIJOJI TEMPLE joins Musashi in mid-career. He's a stud samurai warrior now, not too sure how he made it to that point, but he's a professional warrior whose weapon is the sword and whose code of conduct and strict and exacting.

I watched the first installment in this trilogy recently and, to be honest, didn't understand what all the fuss was about. I'm beginning to get it now. DUEL is a tighter movie than its predecessor, its plot (vanquish the enemies from the local fencing school) is more straightforward and linear, Mifune's character's struggle for self control is more understandable, and many of the characters from part one return without the burden of having to establish who they are or how they fit into the story.

Even the action sequences, particularly the sword fights, are better staged and choreographed here, although they don't receive the loving indulgence given to such sequences today. In fact, we leave Musashi during one big fight scene, jump cut to a different location that he enters after defeating his opponent. Leaving him during such times, coupled with the fact that the movie doesn't show much of any of his training, still strikes me as a little odd. If you're looking for a slam-bang cut-`em-up pass this one by. The focus is on Musashi and his battle for control, and his striving attempts to `polish his soul' and make of himself a noble samurai. Interesting, unusual, and engaging.
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