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The film starts well:
1/ interesting plot (formulaic but with a few twists and turns nonetheless),
2/ good fight sequences (there's a fight-a-minute the whole way through),
3/ purposeful plot (you know where it's going).
It's basically the TV series 'Shogun' meets 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad'. I checked on IMDB and it seems the director was responsible for the latter! This is no suprise........
It moves from Japanese 'Shogun' movie, to 'Buckaneering High Seas Adventure' then to 'The Three Musketeers' and finally 'The Thief of Bagdad'. As a result we have at one point a Medieval Knight fighting a Samurai in a joust!!
It's fairly low budget so there isn't a cast of millions let's just say. This becomes evident in the battle and crowd scenes.
The main character Sho Kosugi is great as the Samurai Mayeda. He's credited with a host of Martial Arts films & it shows. Christopher Lee has maybe 5 lines but disappears. The word 'cameo' is of significance here. This is unfortunate as he has prominent billing on the cover.
The turning point come with the introduction of David Essex. The film descends into a directionless pantomime farce. It actually tries to mix a bit of romance and even comedy in! I'm just grateful there wasn't a comic monkey scene......
......although the scene where Mayeda uses his 'supernatural' Samurai powers to make his sword smoke is just as bad.
It's like they tried to please everyone and ended flat on their faces.
But it's inoffensive and good natured.
The ending is particularly good as all the threads need tying. How they do this is beyond belief.